The West

Essendon ruckman Tom Bellchambers will miss about a month of the AFL pre-season after hurting an ankle at training.

Club doctor Bruce Reid said Bellchambers landed on Michael Hibberd's foot during match practice.

"He's rolled his ankle pretty badly," Reid told the club website on Wednesday.

"That will cost him a few weeks.

Reid added the injury was worse because Bellchambers strained the inside and outside ligaments of the ankle.

"When they do the inside ligament of the ankle, it's a little bit slower because it takes a lot of the weight-bearing," Reid said.

"So he'll be non-weight bearing and in a boot for a couple of weeks and then hopefully we'll get him going quickly."

Meanwhile, Carlton are increasingly confident that star recruit Dale Thomas will be fit for round one.

Thomas moved to the Blues from arch-rivals Collingwood under free agency after ankle problems restricted him to just five games last season.

The durability of his ankles is the big X-factor in Carlton recruiting the former All-Australian.

"Dale has been back running for a couple of months now and were slowly increasing his training load," Blues football manager Andrew McKay told the club website.

"He'll play in a few practice matches and we fully expect him to be right for round one."

Carlton ruckman Matthew Kreuzer also trained away from the main group on Wednesday morning as he recovers from the foot injury he suffered towards the end of last season.

"At the moment Kreuzer's doing a lot of straight line running without any change of direction," McKay said.

"But we're starting to load him up and he'll be back to full training in a week or so."

The West Australian

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