A trio of Bombers are currently placed under injury clouds this pre-season, while veteran Michael Hurley has taken a major step in his recovery from a hip infection.
As reported by 7 News' Mitch Cleary, forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (calf), youngster Zach Reid (foot) and utility Archie Perkins (calf) are all currently battling separate setbacks ahead of the 2022 season.
Reports emerged earlier this year of McDonald-Tipungwuti's most recent injury, with Cleary revealing the Bombers star hasn't trained with the club's main program in six weeks.
A timeline on the 28-year-old's return remains unclear, with Round 1 now just 46 days away for the Bombers - a deadline McDonald-Tipungwuti is reportedly in major doubt of reaching in his recovery.
Reid, who managed just the one appearance in his maiden season at Tullamarine last year due to a back injury, has faced further setbacks in his hopes of returning to Ben Rutten's senior side early this year.
Fellow 2020 top 10 draft selection Perkins is battling a calf complaint, however is expected to make a return to training well ahead of the Bombers' season opener against Geelong on March 19.
Including injury updates on McDonald-Tipungwuti & Hurley...
- Zach Reid is battling a fresh foot complaint after a back injury derailed his debut 2021
- Archie Perkins has a calf concern but is expected back in full training soon https://t.co/N6CM3rXwpG
— Mitch Cleary (@cleary_mitch) January 31, 2022
In more positive news for Essendon, Hurley has continued to show great progression in his return from hip surgery, ramping up his workload at pre-season training this week.
The 31-year-old won't feature in the early rounds of the 2022 season, with the Bombers taking a conservative approach with the veteran defender's recuperation.
The Bombers are currently scheduled to face the Bulldogs and Saints as part of their pre-season practice match fixtures, before facing Geelong in Round 1 of the premiership season at the MCG on March 19.