Hawthorn are expecting coach Sam Mitchell to return to the club on Monday as he continues his recovery from a serious bout of pneumonia.
Mitchell was hospitalised in late December and was forced to spend Christmas Day in a New York hospital bed surrounded by his family.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Sam Mitchell still in New York.
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The 41-year-old was discharged before the new year, but remains in New York. He is set to finally return to Australia in the coming days.
Players returned to pre-season training on Wednesday without their coach.
GM of Football Rob McCartney praised Mitchell’s family for their support and also revealed current board member Anne-Marie Pellizzer and former board member Andrew Kaye played crucial roles in New York.
Mitchell remains in New York after the serious health scare. Credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
“I actually spoke with him as the boys were training today – he’s going well, the vibrance is back in his voice,” McCartney said.
“He’s definitely on the improve, and part of that is making sure that he does get that time to recover and be that person he was before Christmas when he left.
“We were concerned obviously because he was in a foreign country, we couldn’t provide the same level of support we probably could if he was here in Melbourne.
“We were really lucky that we’ve got a current board member in Anne-Marie Pellizzer and a former board member in Andrew Kaye who played quite a significant role in mobilising the right support on the ground in New York, so we were comfortable once we had those things in place.
“His wife Lyndall did an amazing job in caring for Sam while he was in hospital, but while also managing three kids over in New York.
“We want to make sure that we continue to provide that great care that Lyndall did when he was away, when he gets back.”
As the club revealed earlier in the week, Mitchell will likely make a staggered return, starting Monday in a limited capacity.
“We expect him to be back in our program early on Monday, he won’t spend full weeks in our program initially when he gets back,” McCartney added.
“When we get a line of sight and an eye on Sam we’ll have a bit better of an indication as to where he is at.
“He was really unwell there for a few days, obviously in hospital during that Christmas period, so we’re just ensuring that we take a phased approach with him coming back.
“We want him at 100 per cent fitness as quickly as possible instead of maybe coming back a little bit early and doing a little too much and having that linger for a while.”