Melbourne are daring to think, not dream, that former co-captain Jack Trengove will resume his AFL career.
A project that looked near-impossible at the end of the 2014 season reached a major milestone on Monday when Trengove resumed modified training.
After several months of running, the former Demons co-captain is back to tackling drills and ball work.
Melbourne will still not publicly discuss a timeline for Trengove to come back as an AFL player.
But if the next few weeks go without incident, Trengove will return to full training.
“Our approach has been just after every step, let’s have a look at what the next plan is,” said Demons football operations manager Josh Mahoney.
“It’s really positive to be talking about him returning to play, because there were certainly times when it may have looked quite unlikely.”
Trengove’s most recent senior game was round two, 2014.
He missed the rest of the season with a navicular bone fracture in his foot.
Melbourne looked at trading him to Richmond at the end of the season, but a medical exam showed he had re-injured the bone.
Instead of a trade, Trengove had to undergo surgery.
A few weeks later, he posted a photo on social media that showed how big a challenge he faced to make an AFL comeback.
Thanks to the operation, his lower left leg had wasted away.
“If anyone knows the whereabouts of my calf then please contact me,” Trengove posted.
Last August, Trengove’s teammates organised a banner to commemorate his first running session.
The banner read “Congratulations Jack 50m run through”.
It is a sign of the respect that Trengove has earned around the club for his attitude towards the injury comeback.
“Every step forward that Jack takes, there are a lot of proud people for the work they’ve done (to help him),” Mahoney said.
“Ultimately, it’s been his attitude towards his recovery that’s allowed him to get this far.
“There have been players in his situation who’ve given up at different stages and at no stage has he given up the dream of getting back out there again.
“Every time he steps forward a bit, everyone gets excited about it.”