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Pre-season injury update

Midfielder Bailey Smith and key defender Alex Keath will miss tomorrow’s practice match against Essendon with minor setbacks.

Midfielder Bailey Smith and key defender Alex Keath will miss tomorrow’s practice match against Essendon with minor setbacks but should be available for selection for the Western Bulldogs’ AAMI Community Series fixture next Friday.

Despite the pair suffering minor match simulation injuries, Bulldogs Head of Sports Medicine Chris Bell anticipates both are on track to play a role in the Club’s pre-season hitout against the Lions.

“Bailey will be managed after having some groin soreness following last week’s intraclub hitout," Bell said.

“The plan at this stage is to build his match minutes for the second practice fixture against Brisbane.

“Alex recently suffered some back soreness during match simulation. He has improved significantly over the past few days, and we are optimistic that he will be available for the AAMI Community Series.”

Tim O’Brien is in doubt for the beginning of the season after suffering a hamstring injury.

“At this stage of the preseason we are going to be conservative with Tim and his management of the hamstring as we look to build continuity and an uninterrupted season ahead,” Bell said.

Louis Butler has also sustained a hamstring injury and is tracking to be available early in the season, while Riley Garcia is recovering from a syndesmosis injury which will see him on the sidelines until the back end of March.

Anthony Scott is on track to be available for Round 1, despite an eye injury which required surgery.

Sam Darcy is continuing his rehabilitation program, after being diagnosed with a navicular bone foot stress injury late in 2021.

“Given Sam is a developing young athlete with a bright future, we want to make sure that we are conservative in his management and take our time to build a resilient and durable athlete,” Bell said.

“The management plan in place for Sam will have a long-term approach, and the Club will confirm whether this involves playing games in the second half of the season once we accurately track progress over the coming months.”                                                                                             

Toby McLean and Josh Bruce are progressing well following their ACL reconstructions and are currently in line with their rehabilitation plans.

There is an expectation that the pair will integrate into some training in May, and hopefully be ready for matches in early August.

The Western Bulldogs’ squad will be released at 5.00pm today, ahead of the practice match against Essendon tomorrow at the NEC Hangar.

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