GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 20: Lachie Henderson of the Cats marks the ball during the Geelong Cats AFL training session at Simonds Stadium on September 20, 2017 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Geelong defender Lachie Henderson will have a delayed return to full training, after undergoing off-season knee surgery.

Henderson’s surgery will mean he will begin pre-season training on a restricted program and will not return to training with the main group sometime in mid-late January.

However, the 27-year-old, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee after the 2017 season, is confident he will be back to full fitness in no time.

“I’ll be back in main training by January by the time I get it all sorted,” Henderson said.

“There’ll be a few of us coming back in January and we’ll be ready to go. 

“I can do most things. I’m running pretty freely, so the base fitness is pretty good.

“It was a bit of wear and tear.

“It wasn’t really a set injury, it’s just a bit of wear and tear over the 10 years I’ve been playing.

“Nothing too serious but I’ve just got to work through it.”

Henderson played 22 games in 2017, his second season at the Cats. He will take on a bigger leadership role in the backline in 2018, following the retirements of Tom Lonergan and Andrew Mackie, with the likes of inexperienced players Jackson Thurlow, Jake Kolodjashnij and Zach Guthrie all set to fight for selection next season.