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Hartlett on the road to recovery

Hartlett injury update - PTV Hammer on his rehab and recovery

PORT ADELAIDE defender Hamish Hartlett is targeting a Round 1 return from his knee reconstruction, having resumed running and joining in on some training drills.

Hartlett went down in an innocuous incident during a training drill in April, damaging his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The 28-year-old had started the year strongly and was second in the club’s best and fairest votes at the time of his injury.

But he has remained positive throughout his rehabilitation, and is setting course to play as soon as in March.

“My expectation and my aim is to be right to go for round one,” Hartlett told portadelaidefc.com.au.

“That will be roughly eleven months post the initial injury so if I can sneak one trial game prior to that, possibly two, that would be ideal.

“That would be around the ten-and-a-half-month mark, which I think is about right for knee reconstructions.

“Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly between now and then and we can hit those targets and be right to go for round one, whether that’s in the AFL or SANFL, but that’s certainly the goal.”

Eight months into his rehab, Hartlett has been running strongly, and started working on changing direction again.

He has been a constant presence around the club, offering advice to younger players and even taking on a game-day role working on the interchange bench during the season.

It has been a long haul but the long-kicking backman is starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

“For the first three months there’s a lot of off-legs conditioning I suppose, waiting for your knee to heal the way it should, particularly the ACL graft that I had,” he said.

“For the first six weeks you pretty much do nothing so that was pretty tough for me, but after that first three-month period you start doing some non-weight bearing activities like swimming and bike sessions and those sorts of things.

“And from there the process is pretty smooth. I started running doing some mild walk or jogging exercises and built up to now where I can do some change of direction stuff.

“I just got involved in my first official training drill which was a very basic kicking drill right at the start of the session but it makes me feel a part of the main group which is a nice feeling and I know that I’m getting closer and closer to a return which is a nice feeling as well.”

Admitting to some dark times in the aftermath of his injury, Hartlett was quick to consult players who had suffered similar surgeries in recent times for support.

He said having the support of family, friends and Power fans has made the ordeal that bit easier, and he is eager to repay them when he returns to the field.

“When you go through something that is relatively traumatic, that support network that you’ve got around you is huge,” Hartlett said.

“For me I’m lucky being an Adelaide boy, I’ve got a lot of connections from within the footy club and outside of the footy club as well that I could turn to – my friends from my school days, my family have been a huge support for us – they were probably more devastated about the whole incident than I was, but just had lots of people to lean on and give me good advice.

“The support from within the footy club has been huge as well and obviously a couple of guys who have been through a similar situation in recent years.

“I’ve been able to lean on them as well, so I can’t thank the footy club, my friends, family and supporters as well for the amount of interest and support they’ve shown me over the last eight months.”