A stronger Gary Ablett will be unveiled in the 2017 AFL pre-season after the Gold Coast captain successfully underwent shoulder surgery.
But 2013 Rising Star winner Jaeger O’Meara’s Suns return has been further delayed due to his troublesome knee.
Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade said Wednesday’s surgery ensured a new and improved Ablett would run out in the pre-season.
“That surgery gives him more strength around the shoulder,” he said of the dual Brownlow Medallist.
“He will be able to have a quicker recovery from it.
“He will be able to run in a couple of months and the pre-season hasn’t even started then.
“You would think at this stage he would be right for NAB Cup.”
Ablett is expected to return to full contact at training within four months.
He underwent a procedure that attached a screw to his shoulder to limit the threat of dislocation.
Ablett opted for the more invasive operation after undergoing keyhole surgery when he initially dislocated his left shoulder in 2014.
Meanwhile, Eade admitted time was running out for O’Meara to play AFL footy again this year after he was sidelined for another week with knee soreness.
He has not played since running around for a couple of quarters for the Suns reserves two weeks ago.
Overall, off-contract O’Meara has played just a handful of quarters for the reserves since suffering a ruptured patella in a 2015 practice match.
Asked if O’Meara would play AFL this year, Eade said: “We’re running out of games.
“Hopefully he can get back next week and that gives him a couple of weeks to play senior footy at the end.
“The main thing is with his health and his knee, to get that right.
“In utopia, we’d like him to play.
“But we’re not a chance to play finals…so there’s no need to force him at this stage.”
The 15th-placed Suns – still buzzing from a rare last round win over Fremantle – tackle Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday.