Viney hopes for AFL return against Magpies

Jack Viney is taking baby steps towards an AFL return, going off crutches and into a moon boot as his right foot slowly heals.

It is unclear when the Melbourne co-captain will return after his ongoing problem forced him to miss last Sunday’s win over Brisbane.

The Demons are seventh and on the verge of their first finals series since 2006.

But they must beat Collingwood on Saturday and, given Viney’s foot is in the protective boot only a few days before the game, he is an unlikely starter.

“I’m still a chance and still hoping to get out there,” Viney told Channel Nine.

The onballer is renowned for his hardness and will do everything possible to prove his fitness for Saturday’s game.

But the more likely scenario is that he will stay on the sidelines for a second week and hope that the Demons stay in the top eight.

Regardless of whether he plays against the Magpies, the pre-finals bye will be a godsend for him.

Viney had to miss two games because of plantar fascia surgery last month and returned earlier than expected.

But after four games back, he was sidelined again.

“It’s still pretty slow, but getting there,” Viney said.

“There’s a little bit of pain – it’s a little bit different, in terms of being a bit bony, so you can’t really push it too far otherwise you end up in a bit more trouble.

“So I’m just taking it slowly and make sure I get it right.”

Viney, like his team, cannot look too far ahead.

“We have to make finals first – there’s still a fair chance if we lose this weekend we might not make it,” he said.

“So I’m just taking it week by week at the moment, session by session.

“Hopefully … if we get a shot at finals, I will be fresh and ready to go.”

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