AFL clubs walk a fine line between getting competitive training and risking injuries to key players in training and warm-up play.

Collingwood will be without the services on Jamie Elliott at forward for at least a month, which in all probability will cause him to sit out the club’s Round 1 game against Sydney. The cause is listed as a back injury known as a pars defect.

Elliott will be missed after he posted career-high marks for goals and points last season, especially when the club’s opening two rounds feature top-flight competition in games with first the Swans and then the Richmond Tigers.

The Gold Coast Suns will be missing midfielder David Swallow. He is coming back from a knee injury and is expected to miss at least the first month of the premiership season. He has been a steady presence for the Suns, save for the 2015 season, when the injury sent him off after Round 4 until Round 14 and 15, and then for the remainder of the season.

Swallow was the 2014 club champion and was recovering on pace until an increase in his workload caused the knee to flare up, requiring arthroscopic surgery this past Tuesday. Players can typically return from this procedure quickly, but with Swallow, the issue of conditioning enters the picture.