Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett says he expects to return to AFL action in “a couple of weeks”.
The two-time Brownlow medallist has been hampered by a shoulder injury suffered last season on his return to football this year.
Under new coach Rodney Eade, Ablett turned out in round one but was quickly brought down to earth in crunching tackles from tagger Jack Viney.
After the Suns’ round two loss to St Kilda, the club re-assessed its position and decided to keep Ablett out of football, concentrating on strengthening the shoulder in training.
But when Ablett will return is still a mystery to even himself, as he told Fox Sports in Melbourne on Wednesday.
“The shoulder’s getting there,” he said.
“It’s a day-to-day thing and I’ve got to see how I pull up from every session and the real test for it is going to be in about a week’s time, when I really ramp up the contact work.
“I can’t really put a time frame on it … hopefully I’m not too far away and I’m out there in a couple of weeks.”
Gold Coast’s form is so dependent on Ablett the club can hardly afford to wait.
The Suns sole win from seven matches without Ablett was against wooden spooners St Kilda.
Ahead of Saturday night’s match with Brisbane, the expansion club sits 0-4.
Despite that, Ablett said he felt the ingredients for success were already at the club and “Rocket” Eade deserved none of the blame for their poor start to the season.
“There’s no blame on Rocket whatsoever, we’ve just been disappointing as a playing group, it comes back to the effort and that hasn’t been there,” he said.
“We’ve got to turn things around as quickly as possible. No excuses.
“I’ve signed on for three years and I believe we’ve got the list, we’ve got the right coach, we’ve got the right people around the club to do (win a flag).”
Ablett, who signed on at Gold Coast until the end of the 2018 season last week, said he didn’t expect his shoulder would ever be 100 per cent right again.
“It was a pretty serious injury,” he said.
“If I can get it back close to 100 per cent, that’s good enough and I think that will be enough for me to get back to the type of football I know I can play.”