A WEEK after his coach could not guarantee his return date, former Launceston ruckman Thomas Bellchambers could make a surprise return for Essendon in tomorrow's clash with Sydney at Etihad Stadium.
The club website has declared Bellchambers is "in line to return from injury".
The 202-centimetre, 108-kilogram big-man has been limited to a handful of VFL appearances following a preseason ankle reconstruction.
The 24-year-old had his lateral and medial ligaments repaired and a small amount cartilage damage cleaned out following an incident at training in January.
"Tommy's ankle is good, he just had a little bit of soreness a little further down his foot because he hadn't done much," Dr Bruce Reid said.
"Tom will be out there in full training today and for the remainder of the week."
However, respected sports doctor Peter Larkins said on the AFL website yesterday that he believed Bellchambers may have ongoing joint problems, which can limit training loads and inhibit match fitness preparation.
Bombers coach Mark Thompson last week cast a doubt on any immediate AFL action for Bellchambers, with general soreness unrelated to his ankle hampering his ability to get fit.
But after having last week off, the match against the Swans could be the perfect opportunity to test out the 61-gamer. The senior team will have a week off in round 10, which would give Bellchambers a further week to recover.
After 28 goals last year, his inclusion would give Essendon another target in attack as well as more strength in the ruck.