MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 25: Dale Morris of the Bulldogs thanks fans during the 2018 AFL round 23 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Western Bulldogs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 25, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Bulldogs veteran Dale Morris is on track for a shock return in the second half of the season.

After suffering a ruptured ACL during pre-season training, Morris avoided surgery and has made great progress in his recovery.

Bulldogs medical services manager Chris Bell was hoping to see Morris again in 2019.

“Dale’s back running outside and completing an intensive block of strength training,” Bulldogs medical services manager Chris Bell told the club website.

“We remain optimistic that he’s going to make a return in the second half of the season.”

Meanwhile, Blues co-captain Sam Docherty has not yet put a line through 2019 after suffering his own ACL injury in the pre-season.

The 25-year old underwent a second knee reconstruction in December after missing all of 2018.

“With ACL rehabs we don’t actually set timelines on when we’re trying to return. I think that mentally puts you in a bad headspace where you start chasing dates,” Docherty told SEN radio.

“We’re just progressing through my rehab and ticking things off. If it gets late in the year and we’ve ticked everything off and I’m training and going really well, that will be the conversation that we have later in the year.

“There’s a slight possibility and if I put myself in a position where we’re all comfortable then I might still play.

“It’s a hard one. Everyone keeps asking but I don’t have an answer. I’d love to get back out there which is probably the best answer I can get.”

Hawthorn star Tom Mitchell shared the same sentiments as Docherty, leaving the door open for a return this season.

Last year’s Brownlow medallist sustained a broken leg in January but is committed to his rehab and getting back on the field.

“I’d love to play. If the team can push towards finals I would love to be a part of that,” Mitchell told The Oval Office.

“I think with these types of injuries you can’t take any sort of risk and I wouldn’t want to put the rest of my career in jeopardy.

“My priority will be to get fully fit and whenever the time is that will be.”