Injury-plagued Gold Coast Suns veteran Nathan Bock has been tipped to run out for the 2014 AFL season opener after having a 40cm steel rod removed from his troublesome right leg.
After being sidelined for more than a year with a broken leg, Bock's comeback lasted less than two full games when he succumbed to soreness in a 13-point win over Melbourne on August 10.
But Suns football operations boss Marcus Ashcroft said Bock was tipped to return better than ever - most likely as a defender - after successfully undergoing yet more surgery on his leg.
"We think there is still some valuable football left in Nathan," he told the Suns website.
"He's had two serious injuries which have kept him out of footy for a considerable amount of time, so we still think he has plenty to offer the club."
Ashcroft tipped Bock to switch back to defence in a bid to provide more support for Rory Thompson and Sam Day.
"We think he'll start down back, which will also allow him to get a better feel for the game again," he said.
"We know can also go forward with his flexibility though, but initially we think he'll be better placed in defence.
"Regardless, we know how well he can play, and we're confident under a full pre-season he'll be ready to play round one and help us improve as a team."