HAWTHORN midfielder Dan Howe will be ready to play next week, but he will resume from a hip injury in a VFL practice match rather than in the AFL. 

Howe hasn’t played since the Hawks’ intraclub hit-out in mid-February, missing subsequent pre-season games against Carlton, Brisbane and Richmond.

The 23-year-old never appeared on Hawthorn’s injury list in that time, as AFL.com.au reported last week, but coach Alastair Clarkson has cleared up the situation.

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Howe will build his match fitness with the Hawks’ VFL affiliate Box Hill before challenging for a senior berth in the early rounds of the season.

“There’s no mystery to it. He had a very, very minor hip complaint that just niggled and nagged and didn’t get right, but he’s in full training now and available to play,” Clarkson said.

“He won’t be selected in round one, I don’t think, because he hasn’t played a game, but he’s in full training.

“He was a late withdrawal out of the Brisbane game and then it didn’t settle in time and we thought it was going to.

“It (also) didn’t settle in time for him to be selected for the Richmond game (on Saturday), but he’s right to go now and he’s just two or three weeks of games behind the rest of the group.”

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