Essendon defender Tayte Pears has taken a positive step in his comeback from a long-term injury.

Despite an injury-riddled 2015, Pears has been working hard during the off-season to put himself in the best possible position for match-play this season and showed good signs returning to light training with the playing group last week.

Club Doctor Bruce Reid remains optimistic with the defender’s long awaited return to the track, believing the 24-year-old will benefit from a more monitored and measured program.

“While he’s still a number of weeks off, we’re really happy because Tayte is now out there and running at a decent crack,” Reid said.

In further good news for the club, versatile utilities Jake Carlisle and Michael Hurley returned to full training last week.

Midfielder David Zaharakis has also been cleared of any serious damage to his knee after injuring it 10 days ago during a practice drill at training. Zaharakis suffered a very low end medial ligament strain but was still able to run, with Reid expecting him to be back to full training by next week.

Youngster Will Hams is still recovering from a foot injury he sustained during the same session over a week ago.

“Will severely ‘plantar flexed’ his foot and as a result, he’s torn ligaments on the top of his foot,” Reid said.

"These are minor and the MRI has cleared him of serious injury so we should have him running by the end of the week.”