Carlton star Walsh set to return from back injury

Carlton coach Michael Voss is relieved the speculation around Sam Walsh's health can come to an end as the star midfielder prepares to return for the red-hot Blues.

The former No.1 draft pick is expected to play his first game of the season when undefeated Carlton face Adelaide at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.

Walsh has sat out the first four games of 2024 because of a back injury.

The 23-year-old had back surgery after the end of the 2022 season and there were fears he might need another operation.

But Voss and the club have been adamant all along Walsh would return sooner rather than later, and they were just being careful with one of their best players.

"(I'm) very happy that the Sam Walsh questions will now be over, that is a victory in itself," Voss told SEN radio on Tuesday.

"With Sam there was a lot of speculation, the reality is they had to get through some milestones.

"(We're) grateful to have him available and it'll be great to have him out there. They took their time with his recovery."

Meanwhile, star Collingwood veteran Scott Pendlebury has suffered a fractured rib but may not need to miss a match, with the Magpies having the bye this weekend.

Scott Pendlebury
Collingwood veteran Scott Pendlebury suffered a fractured rib in the nail-biting win over Hawthorn.

Pendlebury hurt himself during Collingwood's narrow win against Hawthorn on Sunday and will be tested ahead of the round-six match against Port Adelaide at the MCG.

Fremantle will be without dashing forward Michael Frederick (hamstring) for their clash with Port Adelaide on Saturday night.

However, towering ruckman Sean Darcy is a chance to face the Power as he tries to prove his fitness from a knee injury.

Geelong will be boosted by the return of forward Gary Rohan for their match against North Melbourne on Sunday.

Joining Rohan back in the line-up could be captain Patrick Dangerfield, who needs to pass a fitness test to play after missing two games with a hamstring injury.

Injury-hit Richmond could have defender Dylan Grimes available for their clash with winless West Coast.

Grimes is listed as a test for Sunday's game after struggling with a wrist injury.

Three-time premiership midfielder Dion Prestia remains three weeks from returning as he recovers from his latest hamstring injury, as does Jacob Hopper with a knee issue.

St Kilda defender Dougal Howard is closing in on a return after hurting his hamstring during a pre-season match.

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