Tiger Rioli likely to miss round one

Richmond premiership star Daniel Rioli will likely miss round one of the 2018 season as the club takes a "cautious" approach to helping the speedster recover from the "significant injury" he suffered in the 2017 grand final.

Rioli broke his foot in the final term of the Tigers' premiership win over Adelaide and spent most of the off-season in a moon boot after having surgery.

The 20-year-old only got out of his moon boot earlier this week. He will need to go under the knife again after Christmas to have metal plates removed from his foot, according to Richmond's general manager of football Neil Balme.

"We think he will play most of the year but he probably won't play round one would be our gut feel, but he isn't out of the question there just yet," Balme said.

"The fact that it's a significant injury we will be relatively cautious with it but in a high performance environment he will be pushing as hard as he can to get back as quick as he can. We won't take any risks on it.

"We are pleased with the way he is going ... We were quite happy with the flexibility, quite often it stiffens up so it wasn't it bad shape."

Rioli only made a fleeting appearance at training this week and the Tigers are happy to allow Rioli longer to recover if necessary given how bad the injury is. They have the luxury of being flush with small forwards, which means there is no great urgency about his return.

Rioli will soon begin running in an "AlterG" or zero-gravity running machine and his and the club's previously stated target of unassisted running by early 2018 remains in place, however moving into contact or game-running situations that early remains less likely.

Balme said there had been some damage to the ligaments underneath Rioli's broken bones, however this was not too significant and certainly not as bad as the damage done to Dane Swan at the start of 2016, an injury the ended the Collingwood star's career.

Balme was Collingwood's football boss at the time and saw how Swan's foot was decimated by the injury.

He said there were no concerns over Rioli's future.

"They're pretty confident [the medical staff] that ... if it heals properly it should be back to square one [for Rioli]."

Rioli was integral to the Tigers 2017 success thanks to his high-pressure game in the forward line. He played every match for the season and kicked four goals in Richmond's preliminary final win over GWS.

Meanwhile, Balme said concussion-prone forward Ben Griffiths was progressing well. Griffiths has suffered numerous concessions over the past four years, the last coming in 2017 round two against Collingwood at the MCG.

That came in April with Griffiths then returning to football, in the VFL, in July.

The club is also happy with the progress and round one fitness chances of Dion Prestia (ankle), Oleg Markov (shoulder), Jayden Short (shoulder) and David Astbury (shoulder). The quartet underwent surgery after the 2017 season.

This story Tiger Rioli likely to miss round one first appeared on The Age.