MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 22: Jack Viney of the Demons leads the team out during the round 18 AFL match between the Melbourne Demons and the Port Adelaide Power at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 22, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Melbourne co-captain Jack Viney remains in doubt for the opening round of the 2018 season, as he continues to recover from a stress fracture in his right foot.

Viney is still weeks away from re-joining the main training group at the Demons, and says he may not be back doing contact drills with his teammates until early February.

“I’m really not sure what timeframe I’m looking at being back with the main group. For me it is still really at the stage where it’s session by session,” Viney told melbournefc.com.au.

“If I feel comfortable doing what I did then we progress it. Some sessions we might have to hold [back] if it doesn’t feel quite right.

“That’s pretty much where I’m at.” 

With the Demons heading up to Queensland later this month, Viney is targeting that week as one where he increases his workload, although he’ll still have to hold back a touch.

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“Hopefully around the Maroochydore camp I’ll be doing some solid running,” Viney added.

“I’m probably not into the main group by then but if I can get a really solid block of conditioning in during that time then hopefully I’m back into some contact and doing some drills with the team around early February.” 

The injury troubled the 23-year-old during the second half of 2017, as he missed the final two games of the season, as well as four of Melbourne’s last eight fixtures.

Viney had surgery in July to repair his plantar fascia before developing the stress fracture just weeks later, with the midfielder believing both injuries could be linked.

“I had my plantar fascia operated on after I partially tore that against Sydney halfway through the year,” Viney said. 

“Coming back from that, five to six weeks down the track, I ended up getting a stress fracture in my third metatarsal so that’s what I’m trying to get back from now.

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“There’s a few things to juggle around after having the surgery on my plantar fascia. 

“The dynamics of my foot are a little bit different so I’m just adjusting to different loads going through different parts of it and I’m finally at a point now where I do feel like I’m progressing well and I don’t see too many hiccups along the way now.” 

Melbourne face Geelong in the opening round of the season, and while Viney is still in doubt for that clash, he can’t help but get excited about going up against the Cats’ star-studded midfield.

“Geelong has got a pretty stacked midfield, which as a competitor you like to go up against and challenge yourself,” Viney said.

“I’m pretty excited about that but we’ll try to get there first.”