Essendon head of high performance Sean Murphy says co-vice-captain Michael Hurley is making steady progress as he recovers from a hip infection.
Dons fans will be delighted to hear Hurley is now an everyday presence amongst the playing group, with the 30-year-old performing lengthy exercise in a sign of his burgeoning physical improvement.
Murphy said Hurley’s return to a training program is a positive sign the 193-game defender is on the right track to recover from a hip infection which has cruelled him for the past one-and-a-half months.
“Hurls (Michael Hurley) is improving every single day,” Murphy told Dons Digital’s Performance Update.
“He’s been at the club every single day when the boys are in here. He provides energy for the guys (and) you can just see what sort of leader he is around the program.
“It’s been really important for him, but also for the club to have him around. He’s got his own program (and) he does one to two hours a day of genuinely strong exercises.
“It’s really nice to have him around the club and it’s important for the club in terms of that leadership space.”
Another positive rehabilitation progression is the improvement of defender Patrick Ambrose and his recovery from a foot injury.
Murphy said the 29-year-old will rejoin main training soon after building up his running loads over the past several weeks.
“Paddy Ambrose is the other who is making some really strong steps to make an integration back into the program,” Murphy said.
“He’s got some good running loads under his belt. He’ll now progress into integrating into some footy next week and we’ve built his program up in the next three to four weeks.
“Hopefully it’s all smooth sailing and we’ll get him back playing sooner rather than later.”
Forward Jake Stringer played three quarters of VFL at the weekend as he recovers from a foot injury, while David Zaharakis has been slated to play minutes against Footscray this weekend as he builds from a knee injury.
“Jake Stringer played some minutes in the VFL against Box Hill on the weekend (and) he’s pulled up really well,” Murphy said.
“The achilles injury that he’s been having is not an issue at the moment, so we’ll continue to build his loads.
“He did a running session off the back of the game time he played, which was three quarters, and he’ll just keep building on that and preparing to perform when he comes into the AFL side.
“Zacka’ (David Zaharakis) will play some minutes this week. He completed a solid session on Saturday which ticked off all the markers we wanted from that end stage rehab from the PCL.”
Murphy also touched on standout performances from Harrison Jones, Dyson Heppell and Nick Hind from round one’s match against Hawthorn.
Watch the round two Performance Update below.