Charlie Curnow will play 60 – 70 minutes of game time in his return to football this Sunday when he steps out for Carlton’s VFL side against Collingwood.
It will be the 24-year old’s first competitive game in over two years having encountered several setbacks to his troublesome right knee.
Track watchers who have watched Curnow complete a careful and considered rehab and conditioning program have seen the star forward make significant steps forward on the training track. Many believing that he can get back to his dynamic best before he was struck down.
Curnow will play several games in the VFL, building up game time on managed minutes as he pushes for his senior return in the final 6 weeks of the home and away season.
It would be a big boost for the Blues and senior coach David Teague who has only had the luxury of selecting the prodigiously talented forward 3 out of a possible 44 times throughout his coaching tenure.
“He won’t play the whole game, we are going to build him up. He’ll play probably 60-70 minutes at this stage,” Teague said on Thursday.
“I know he’s excited, the boys are excited to see him out there. I think our fans will be excited. He’s really looking forward to it and we can’t wait to see him get out there and have some fun.”
Curnow’s return to football comes as the Blues are sweating on fitness on a number of big men ahead of their big game against arch-rivals Collingwood.
Both Liam Jones (back) and Levi Casboult (knee) were late withdrawals for the clash against Geelong last Saturday at the MCG.
Jones is likely to play but will have to get through training on Thursday and Saturday but Levi Casboult is set to miss multiple weeks after reporting swelling in his knee.
Veteran Marc Murphy is also no closer to a return after injuring his calf in the Round 15 win against Adelaide. Murphy is 4 games short of the revered 300 game milestone and should he get there, will be only the 6th Carlton player to reach the milestone.
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Teague and Carlton are planning for “business as usual,” ahead of Sunday’s game. Teague lauded the players and staff’s ability to roll with the punches and get on with the job despite the adversity and uncertainty.
“We’ve all been here before,” Teague said
“I know our group will adapt pretty quickly and we’ll be ready to go.
“It’s been a challenge over the past 20 or so months with all the changes and relocations, I think last year we changed hotels 11 times.
“It’s part of the game, it’s the environment we’re in and we need to make sure we are ready.”
Teague reflected on how the different individuals handle the constant chopping and changing of plans in the current environment.
“Every player and staff member are different. We need to understand that, you need to put in support networks, [which are] different for each person.
“it’s hard to give you an exact on what’s going to happen to everyone, it’s different for each person.”
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