Mercury (Hobart)

DONS HOPE HURLEY CAN DEFY THE ODDS

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ESSENDON will give Michael Hurley every chance to make an amazing return from a serious infection that decimated his season despite upcoming hip surgery.

But Hurley still faces an uphill battle to make a complete recovery and return to the Essendon senior side next year.

Amid conjecture about his future Hurley has been in no doubt he wants to honour the last season of a five-year deal he signed to return to the club after the Essendon player bans of 2016.

That hip surgery should still have him on track to make a return across the summer. But it is understood he still faces a significan­t battle to gain full movement in his body and reach the speed and agility he would need to again become a dominant AFL defender. If it became apparent across the summer he was not able to get back to full fitness his contract would still be honoured with Essendon.

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