Essendon ruckman Sam Draper is another step closer to returning to play from a burdensome groin injury.

After playing all 22 Bombers games in 2022, Draper managed just 14 senior outings last season after encountering separate hip and groin ailments. The latter injury required off-season surgery.

The 25-year-old's continued recovery has limited his participation in Essendon's pre-season preparations; restricted to a running program for the majority of the off-season stint.

However, in an exceedingly positive revelation for Bombers fans, Essendon released an injury update on Thursday afternoon stating Draper will reintegrate into training at the Hangar next week.

While the South Adelaide product's rehabilitation will continue to be gradual, the mere re-inclusion in training is a promising sign for Essendon's first-choice ruckman.

Sam Draper and Matt Crouch during the AFL match between Essendon and Adelaide, Round 4, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media

In addition to the news pertaining to Draper, the Bombers assured Jaiden Hunter's knee reconstruction surgery was successful after the 21-year-old ruptured his ACL last week.

Dylan Shiel (foot) and Tex Wanganeen (navicular) also continue in their respective injury recoveries, with the duo having begun running programs.

Essendon is preparing for pre-season clashes with St Kilda and Geelong, before its Round 1 fixture with Hawthorn.