Hawthorn young gun Josh Ward and defensive-minded midfielder Conor Nash have both faced delays to their pre-season programs due to separate injuries from the pre-Christmas break.

While the Hawks have welcomed a bevy of senior players back from injury to start this year, both Ward and Nash will be required to build up their workloads for the weeks ahead.

Ward is battling with a hip/groin issue that has hindered the start of his second season with the Hawks, while Nash suffered a knee injury in his final session of 2022.

“Over Christmas Josh was on a modified program, just to help him get back on track and we're now just pushing his loads up at the moment,” Hawthorn's newly-appointed high performance manager Peter Burge told the club's website.

“We're pushing him pretty hard away from the group and anticipate he'll be back training with the group over the next fortnight.

“Conor had done everything and then the last session before the Christmas break – which was our toughest session – he pulled up a little bit sore in his knee.

Conor Nash during the AFL match between Hawthorn and St Kilda in Round 4, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

“Over the Christmas break we then had to back him off and, similar to Wardy, we're just progressing that at the moment. Over the next two to three weeks, we'll move him back into skills.”

Midfielder James Worpel and ruckman Ned Reeves are both on course with their respective recoveries from shoulder injuries, easing into contact training at Bunjil Bagora early into their 2023 returns.

The duo both endured abrupt endings to their seasons last year due to injury and now remain on track toward a Round 1 return.

“Worps was doing a lot of training pre-Christmas, out of the big contact drills, but he's now into full contact,” Burge said.

“He's really hungry and ready to go, and on Monday we saw him around the footy doing what he does best.

“Ned was also on a managed program following his shoulder surgery. He was doing a fair bit of training pre-Christmas, but he's starting now to build that up again and next week he'll be full contact.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 18: Mark Blicavs of the Cats and Ned Reeves of the Hawks compete for the ballduring the 2022 AFL Round 05 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Geelong Cats at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 18, 2022 In Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

“We've been working really hard on some other areas of Ned's program, especially his conditioning which he has improved dramatically since I've been here.

“I think he's gained a lot of confidence out of being able to get more work in. He's a bigger body as well, he's still growing and getting stronger, so he's managing that side of his preparation as well.”

Mitch Lewis, Changkuoth JiathChad WingardJarman Impey, Lachlan Bramble, Josh Morris, Sam Frost and Tyler Brockman have all returned to full training after carrying injuries at the end of the 2022 season.

Hawthorn's Round 1 clash with Essendon is just over two months away, with their season opener scheduled for Sunday, March 19 at the MCG.