NORTH Melbourne star Daniel Wells is battling through another pre-season clouded by injury, but will soon start training at full pace in a bid to be ready for round one.
Wells' training regime is still being hampered by the Achilles and calf problems that caused him to miss the final three home-and-away matches last season and restricted his performance in the Roos' elimination final loss to West Coast.
The 27-year-old missed Monday's first session back and is yet to join his teammates in full training since North began its build-up to 2013. His loads were managed during the club's training camp in Utah.
The life-threatening blood clots on both lungs that he contracted after shoulder surgery - and the blood-thinning drug treatment that followed - meant Wells was unable to participate in contact drills for nearly all of last pre-season.
Despite the limited preparation, the blue-ribbon playmaker was still able to make a surprise appearance in the club's round one win against Essendon last year, and went on to play 20 games and average 22 disposals - a season worthy of seventh in the Roos' best and fairest count.
But his output was a step below that of his stellar 2011 season when he tied for the Syd Barker Medal with Andrew Swallow.
The 2011 pre-season was Wells' first uninterrupted campaign for some time. Previously, groin problems had disrupted the No. 2 draft pick's campaign.
Wells had been on a progressive program designed to have him rejoin the main training program after the Christmas break but, given his injury history and value to the team, the Roos are taking no risks.
Coach Brad Scott said the fitness staff were determined to get the plan right for Wells, with the club's opening game against Collingwood on March 31 still the target.
''Once players have a really good aerobic base behind them and they're at a really good training age, they do come up a bit quicker … so we're confident he'll be right for round one,'' Scott said.
''Wellsy, we think, has got a really good training base behind him. We know what a class act he is, so we just need to get him fully fit and feeling his best.
''To do the things he's capable of doing, he's got to be fully fit without any injury worries. We know when he's at his best and when he's got good continuity, he's one of the best players in the competition.''