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VFL Don sidelined

Natalie MacGregor  April 21, 2017 10:48 AM

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The Bombers are hoping Aaron Heppell will be back in action by about round eight.

Essendon is hoping to have reigning VFL best and fairest Aaron Heppell back on the field by round eight.

Heppell underwent scans three weeks ago after ongoing pain in his knee.

He’d been experiencing swelling and stiffness in his knee after each pre-season match.

“Those scans came back showing there was a piece of floating bone in his knee,” VFL Operations Manager Ash Brown said.

“It was the surgeon’s recommendation to have it removed.

“We actioned that quite quickly and had Aaron in for surgery a couple of days after that scan.

“It was a pretty straight forward arthroscope, which was pleasing for us.

“Rather than have him play throughout the season with the swelling and pain continuing to occur, we thought it was best for Aaron’s wellbeing and his future.

“We are probably expecting Aaron to be fully fit and ready to play close to round eight against Footscray or potentially after the mid-season bye.”

Heppell averaged 20 disposals per game in defence last season.  

But he lifted his output to 24 disposals per game when moved into the middle of the ground from round 18 through to the semi-final.

Despite the setback, Brown said the Bombers Vice Captain was remaining positive.

“He was obviously pretty disappointed when he received the results, especially coming off his best and fairest last year,” Brown said.

“Since he’s had the operation his attitude has been great, he has stayed involved in the program and he’s at the Club nearly every day.”

Heppell’s rehabilitation program includes a combination or aerobic and strength and conditioning work.

“He has spent most of his time doing cross training to keep up his aerobic fitness, so working on the grinder and in the pool,” Brown said.

“He has also been doing a lot of strengthening work around his knee and through his legs to keep his tone and strength.”