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Steady progress in rehab

Injury update - Inside The Pack We check in with Andrew McKenzie to get an update on the Bulldogs injury list. Watch the full episode of Inside The Pack at www.westernbulldogs.com.au and catch new episodes every Wednesday. Inside the Pack returns in 2014 for NAB Challenge Round 1.
Shaun Higgens in action during a Western Bulldogs training session at Whitten Oval, on November 27, 2013. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
Shaun Higgens in action during a Western Bulldogs training session at Whitten Oval, on November 27, 2013. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)

Diligence and dedication has been a common theme in the rehabilitation group and Western Bulldogs Medical Services Manager Andrew McKenzie is confident in the progress of the current crop.

A ruptured ACL cut Clay Smith’s season short in round 16 against Essendon but McKenzie said the dogged midfielder was making steady progress.

“Clay is tracking really well, his knee is in a good state, he’s strong, he’s lifting well, he’s running well,” McKenzie said.

“He’s just starting to do some change of direction activities, so we are really happy with where he’s at.”

Forward Shaun Higgins has been working hard to overcome a broken navicular bone in his foot, restricting him to the sidelines since round three.

Medical staff have taken a cautious approach with the 26-year-old’s rehabilitation throughout the year but Higgins is beginning to increase his workload.

“Shaun’s load has been progressively increasing, he spent a couple of months running on the alter-g machine after we were given good feedback around his navicular from his surgeon,” he said. 

“The surgeon has again recently reviewed that and is very happy with the health of the navicular so he has started running outside and we are happy with how he is.”

A post-season hip cleanup has delayed Christian Howard’s start to the pre-season, but he too is beginning to make important gains.

“Howie is also going well, he’s had no setbacks. He is currently running on the alter-g machine and is due to start running outside this week,” he said.

Tom Williams, Brett Goodes and Jason Johannisen have all re-joined the main training group this pre-season after spending an extended time on the sidelines throughout 2013.