Carlton skipper set to play first game in 917 days
Sam Docherty will lead Carlton when he plays his first game in 917 days against Fremantle on Saturday.
The Carlton co-captain, who last featured in Round 23, 2017, has recovered from two knee reconstructions and proven his fitness for Carlton's opening game of the Marsh Series.
Docherty will be the Blues' sole captain against the Dockers, with Patrick Cripps to feature for the All Stars in Friday's bushfire relief match.
"It's obviously his first hitout against opposition in two years, but he's building really well and it's exciting for him not just from a football point-of-view but also from a personal point-of-view," Blues assistant John Barker said.
"When you're injured, the toll that can take and how lonely you can feel as an injured player at a football club.
"The way we feel about Sam Docherty and how important he is to this club is important, but it's good that he'll get a bit of emotional nourishment from being able to play again and do what he loves."
The 26-year-old had established himself as one of the AFL's premier half-back flankers and was named an All-Australian before first tearing his ACL in November, 2017.
Carlton fans will get their first look at pre-season draftee Jack Martin in navy blue this weekend, while ruckman Matthew Kreuzer will feature after undergoing a recent heart procedure.
Barker said key forward Harry McKay (groin) was close to returning and the Blues are hopeful he will be ready to play in the club's season opener against Richmond on March 19.