AFL

Injury scare for Melbourne's Jack Watts

As he enters a year when he can become a free agent, there was a minor scare for Jack Watts on Wednesday when the Melbourne utility left training early with an elbow complaint.

Watts was attended to by fitness staff after a knock during drills at Gosch's Paddock. He winced in pain as he was asked to bend his right elbow and did not return to the field. However, the Demons said he did not need scans and was expected to resume training on Friday.

Scare: Jack Watts hurt his elbow in training.
Scare: Jack Watts hurt his elbow in training. Photo: Getty Images

Watts and the Demons have their sights on the opening NAB Challenge clash against Port Adelaide at Playford Alive Oval, Adelaide, on February 27.

A former No.1 pick, Watts continued to frustrate last season, but coach Paul Roos defended him in May when he spoke of the burden Watts had carried after years of unrelenting pressure.

But in September, after the Demons had again missed the finals, Roos could not guarantee Watts would be at the club this year heading into the trade period.

Watts, who finished 18th in the best and fairest count despite playing 20 matches, will be a restricted free agent once the 2016 campaign is over. Recruiters on Wednesday still spoke highly of Watts' skills, but continue to question his match-day intensity and desperation.

Watts, 25 in March, said earlier this month he had noted a stronger team mentality, as the Demons head into Roos' third and final year as coach. 

"When things had not been going so well for us over the last couple of years, a lot of guys have gone into protecting their own backyard, whereas over the last 12 months, I've really noticed a big focus on selfless teamwork and supporting each other through those kind of things," he said.

 "Rather than leaving blokes out in the cold, now it's about really getting around each other, which is why it is probably the best environment I've seen at the club."

Heading into last week's training camp in Queensland, Roos said the 115-game veteran had been training well. "I've been really impressed with the way Wattsy has come back. Last year, he had a bit of an interrupted pre-season," Roos said. "He has slight injuries, including a groin, which held him out. He ran a really good 3km time trial and has been training really well."

■ New Gold Coast Suns recruit Jarrad Grant will spend an extended period on the sidelines after fracturing his wrist in a cycling accident. Grant, who joined the Suns as a delisted free agent last November, suffered the injury  falling off his bike during a cycling session at training on Saturday.

The 26-year-old had surgery on Australia Day and is expected to be fit for the Suns' final NAB Challenge match against Adelaide on March 11. 

With Nathan Lay