Relief for returning midfielder Jong
Lin Jong is relieved to be running again in Western Bulldogs training as he targets a comeback from an ACL tear.
The Bulldogs midfielder tore his right ACL in June when Melbourne co-captain Nathan Jones collided with his leg when attempting to smother his kick.
Running out on the oval for the first time was kind of a highlight of my year.Lin Jong
He found overcoming the knee injury was as much a psychological challenge as it was physical.
The 24-year-old needed a full reconstruction, and while he was on the sidelines the Bulldogs, who had been hoping to defend their premiership, slipped dramatically down the ladder to miss out on the finals.
"It's just such a relief to run again," said Jong. "Running out on the oval for the first time was kind of a highlight of my year.
"In rehab, you always feel like you can do more than what you're currently doing, but at that point in time, I was just happy to run, and then happy I felt really good after it."
Jong admits he broke down in tears when he was told of the extent of his injury against Melbourne, and things continued to go wrong for him when surgery was delayed due to fears of an infection.
He was in a lot of pain when he began his rehab, and the Bulldogs told him to go away and clear his head.
Jong was given the green light to run again, just as his teammates went on their post-season break.
He's likely to join in with full training next month, and is happy that the worst part of his recovery is over.
"I know the goal is round one, and hopefully I'll play some JLT games, but in my head, I know plans don't always work out perfectly," said Jong. "My knee is the priority and playing is second."
Western Bulldogs are 22/1 to win the 2018 Grand Final.
The Bulldogs are 1/1 to finish in the top eight.
View all Australian Rules betting