Morris’s fear over latest injury blow
WESTERN Bulldogs veteran Dale Morris feared the worst after learning he had suffered a serious knee injury.
But the veteran defender says after avoiding a full knee reconstruction, he's excited about returning to the field in 2018.
Morris, 35, partially ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament at training on Thursday and will likely miss at least three months as he embarks on a program to strengthen the joint.
But he was shocked to learn the severity of the injury, sustained in an "innocuous incident" during a training drill.
"It was full-on finding out about the ACL," Morris said.
"A lot of things went through my mind (after) hearing the dreaded ACL come your way, but I've got a great support network around me."
Morris, who has endured a long list of injuries throughout his 241-match career and famously played the Bulldogs' 2016 finals series with a fracture in his back, felt a "little pop and a click" but didn't initially think it was a big deal.
"It felt like not much at all but it turns out there was a bit going on in there," he told the Bulldogs' website.
"It was just one of those things, one of those innocuous little incidents that happen in footy and it turns out I've done a partial ACL (tear).
"It turns out I was unlucky to get the injury but lucky that it was only a partial (tear). So it'll look like maybe a 12-week sort of stint on the sidelines.
"It's one of those things, we'll see how it progresses. It could be more (time out), it could be less. It all depends on how this settles down."
Morris played 11 games last year after breaking his leg in Round 1 and then suffered a broken arm in July.
Teammate Jack Macrae has backed one of the club's most popular players to make a successful return.
"I've played with 'Moz' for six years now and I know how much of a warrior he is. He's had setbacks along his career and every time he's bounced back tremendously," Macrae said on Saturday.
"He's just so strong willed and minded. His professionalism and how he drives the group is just first-class.
"I have no doubt in my mind that he'll play this year and when he comes back he'll get back to his best footy without any lag time."