Fremantle forward Hayden Ballantyne looks unlikely to feature in the Dockers’ pre-season campaign, adding to the club’s pre-season injury woes.

With Anthony Morabito ruled out for the season, Roger Hayden out until the second half of the home and away program and Michael Barlow several months away from a return, Ballantyne is also being nurtured back slowly from a broken foot.

The livewire small forward was not sighted at Fremantle’s first training session of 2011, and club fitness guru Jason Weber refused to give a date for his return.

“Hayden’s doing really well … he’s on track, but it’s again that type of injury that we want to be conservative with going forward,” Weber said.

“He’s such an aggressive player from his change of direction, his speed, we need to make sure that’s right before he goes back.

“He’s started some running, we’re happy with how that’s evolving and again as that injury evolves we’ll step him up.

“His medicals presented very well. We’re very happy with where it’s at and he’s going to continue to press on with his work over the next few weeks.”

Morabito’s knee injury which required a full reconstruction was the biggest blow of the Dockers’ pre-season campaign, although Barlow’s progress back from his horrific broken leg is likely to be slower than fans had hoped. revealed the club were refusing to put a timeline on the star recruit’s progress, with the 2010 first-year sensation due to have a 30cm metal plate running down the inside of his lower leg removed later this month.

Weber said today the damage suffered to the muscle around Barlow’s shattered leg was also a big concern.

“One of the things that happens going forward is that the bone will heal but the musculature around it suffers damage in the fracture as the bone breaks,” Weber said.

“Going forward that becomes a big issue. The problem will come if we keep trying to amp his workload and say he’s going really well, he’s going really well and then by weeks six he goes bang and falls off the face of the earth.

“That’s the difficulty of putting a time frame on it, but we’re confident he’ll come back strong.”

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