MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 15: Sam Walsh of the Blues in action during the 2019 AFL round 13 match between the Carlton Blues and the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on June 15, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Carlton have confirmed Sam Walsh will line up on Thursday night against the Western Bulldogs after missing the Blues' opening round of the season with an ankle injury.

Walsh, who suffered the syndesmosis injury in February, has completed a number of sessions to prove his fitness and looks on track to return earlier than expected. The club had originally put a line through the former number one draft pick for the first month of the season.

The superstar Blue was even a chance to return in the season opener, but will instead make his first appearance for the 2022 season under the lights of Marvel Stadium.

Stand-in coach Ash Hansen fronted media on Wednesday morning, praising Walsh's professional approach to his recovery.

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“‘Walshy’ is going to play, which is really exciting. He’s an important member of our team and did everything right in his preparation,” Hansen said.

Everyone has got an individual timeline, and Sam has ticked all the boxes that we’ve required him to: both medically and physically. We’re really confident he has ticked all the boxes he needed to.

“We kept an open mind with the timeline. Everyone is individual and has their own rehab process: from the start, Sam was responding really well.”

Hansen said that Walsh wasn't being rushed back given the loss of star recruit Adam Cerra who will miss after entering the AFL's Health and Safety Protocols on Wednesday morning.

"We’re really confident he has ticked all the boxes he needs to & will help us compete on Thursday night," Hansen said.

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Cerra joins forward Jack Martin and coach Michael Voss in the health and safety protocols for Thursday night's clash against the Western Bulldogs.

Meanwhile, Liam Stoker is making strong progress in his recovery from a syndesmosis injury of his own having returned to the skills program. The 22-year-old is expected to be ready for selection in a number of weeks.

Caleb Marchbank and David Cunningham are continuing their recovery from respective knee injuries, with Carlton expecting the former to be available between Round 5-8.