All-Australian ruckman Tim English is dealing with "a "medical issue" that is set to see the Western Bulldogs star sit out of contact drills for a total of five weeks during the pre-season.

English did not partake in contact drills for the final fortnight of the club's training program to end 2023 and has remained on lighter duties in the club's return to the training track, with that spell set to continue for the coming weeks.

The 26-year-old is understood to be in the clear for a Round 1 meeting with Melbourne in mid-March but will see his altered training regimen eat into more than a month of his pre-season preparations.

According to multiple reports English isn't battling with concussion, with the Bulldogs telling News Corp their star tall is dealing with "a medical issue".

It is expected that English returns to contact training in the fortnight after the Dogs' first week back at training.

The Bulldogs are scheduled for a pair of pre-season meetings with Hawthorn between late February and early March before the Footscray-based club commences its 2024 campaign against Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday, March 16.

Western Bulldog Tim English, 2023 (Image via Twitter, @westernbulldogs

English enjoyed a career-best campaign last year to earn his first All-Australian blazer, emerging as the premiership ruckman of the competition in averaging 19.13 disposals, 31.17 hitouts and 3.22 clearances per game.

The Western Australian native enters the new year without a deal for 2025 and is expected to garner strong levels of interest from West Coast while the Bulldogs move to retain their 208cm big man.

The Dogs also have top names in Jamarra Ugle-Hagan and Bailey Smith unsigned beyond 2024, with the latter set to miss the entire coming season due to an ACL injury sustained earlier this pre-season.