WA's Marley Williams could return to senior football as early as this weekend.
Williams was yesterday handed a suspended 12-month jail sentence after being convicted of grievous bodily harm in a Perth court.
However, he returned to Melbourne last night and resumed training with the Magpies this morning.
Williams had been on leave during his trial and while awaiting sentencing and Collingwood officials said yesterday he would have to regain match conditioning in the VFL before being considered for a senior recall.
But coach Nathan Buckley hinted Williams could play in the State league this weekend if he was in the right frame of mind following the turmoil.
"My feel on it is that through the circumstances that he has been involved in, if you could imagine, it takes an emotional toll,” Buckley said.
“There is a roller-coaster he has ridden over the last 16 months. He is not the only one, clearly there are other people involved.
“We are now making sure he settles as well as he possibly can, but we see game time as a part of that progression back to being available for senior selection, and we see it as soon as this week.
“He trained well today, we will have a chat with Marley over the next couple of days and if he feels he is right we will put him in the side on Saturday to represent us in the VFL.”
Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert told reporters outside court yesterday that the club's support for Williams had never wavered.
"He will be returning to Melbourne and continuing his training as soon as he is physically and emotionally ready, signed off by doctors and coaches. He'll be playing with our VFL team and then will be available to play in the AFL."
Collingwood veteran Nick Maxwell expects Williams to play AFL this season, but believes he's not ready for it now.
"Right now he's not physically or emotionally ready to play AFL football," the former Magpies captain said.