Conscious of his ability to push through adversity they want to make sure they set up Franklin for a strong season rather than rushing him back into the fray. He has not missed round one since 2010 when he played for Hawthorn. He still played 18 games that year.
Football manager Charlie Gardiner said Franklin was in good shape and running well as he entered his 15th season, just 10 games shy of playing his 300th game, however the club was taking the view that the champion forward would “play when he is ready to play”.
Franklin is one of several key forwards including Port Adelaide’s Charlie Dixon, West Coast’s Josh Kennedy, Essendon’s Joe Daniher, Fremantle’s Jesse Hogan and Richmond’s Tom Lynch who have been on modified programs this pre-season but remain hopeful of playing in round one.
The Swans will also be without former Cat Dan Menzel in the JLT Community Series as he also recovers from a groin operation. The forward had his operation slightly later in the year than Franklin and is undergoing a similar rehab program.
Their absence is likely to give the Swans a chance to look at premiership forward Sam Reid who has had a strong pre-season and academy graduate Nick Blakey who joined the club in last year’s draft.
Defenders Nick Smith, who suffered a hamstring injury in round 21 last year, and Zak Jones, who had relatively minor surgery on his knee, are not far away from participating in match practice however they will not take part in match simulation scheduled for Friday.
The Swans play their opening JLT game against the Giants on March 2 and kick off their season at Marvel Stadium against the Western Bulldogs on March 23.
The Bulldogs are yet to determine how long running defender Jason Johannisen will spend in rehabilitation following the ankle injury he suffered last Friday with the 26-year-old still in a moonboot.