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Docherty still hopeful of 2018 return

CARLTON star Sam Docherty hasn’t given up hope of returning to the field in 2018.

Speaking for the first time since rupturing his ACL on his return to pre-season training, Docherty said there was still plenty to look forward to.

The Blues are unlikely to risk the 2016 John Nicholls Medallist with a typical recovery taking anywhere from nine to 12 months.

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West Coast star Nic Naitanui missed the entire 2017 season despite injuring his knee late in 2016 season.

Docherty revealed there was no pain when he went down last month.

“It was a weird feeling, there was no pain, it just sort of felt a bit uncomfortable and bit loose,” he told Channel 9.

“Obviously, getting the news you’re going to be out for nine to 12 months isn’t ideal but I’ve got plenty to look forward to.”

Docherty is in Torquay for the AFL Players’ Association retreat and hopes to continue working hard in off field roles – including coaching – during his injury-enforced layoff.

Carlton’s first All-Australian since 2011, Docherty underwent a traditional knee reconstruction but hoped to make a speedy recovery if all things went well.

“I think there is a very slim chance but it’s very low,” he said.

“It all depends on how well it settles, how well I get my range back quickly, when I can start running.”

The Blues hope newly re-signed defender Lachie Plowman can step up in Docherty’s place while veteran Kade Simpson and mature recruit Cam O’Shea will also be called upon to pick up the slack.

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