MEDICAL professionals didn't give him much hope, but Collingullie-Glenfield Park's Jayden Klemke will defy the odds when he returns to the field for the Demons in Saturday's trip to Leeton-Whitton.
After suffering a major knee injury on SANFL debut in 2019, Klemke returned for eight games last season before he experienced another setback.
Almost a year on, after a doctor told him he was fortunate just to get back from his injury with West Adelaide, Klemke will line up at full forward for the second-placed Demons.
The two-time Jim Quinn medallist, four-time club best and fairest and 2018 premiership player's return is a huge boost for the Demons, who will start strong favourites to improve to 6-1 against the winless Crows.
"I'll play more forward this year for sure," Klemke said on Friday.
"I'll get my confidence back, and I wouldn't be playing if I thought I couldn't do it.
"I've only got one speed and I'll have to take it a bit steady, but as soon as I get a couple of contests out of the way I'll be right.
"I'm not that good at watching and I wanted to get back on the field. I've slowly achieved that and whatever happens, happens. If it (knee) goes it goes, if it holds together that's great and I've done all I can."
A return this week seems the ideal scenario for Klemke, given a competition bye will follow next week.
"Hopefully I can get this game out of the road, have a week off and then back into it against Coolamon (the week after)," he said.
"We've had this game half pencilled in for five or six weeks.
"I had the operation in February and did a lot of bike work and swimming, and have been training for six weeks straight. I've been feeling really good the last few weeks."
Demons co-coach Brett Somerville said Klemke's return will be a psychological boost for the squad.
"He's just a huge personality around the club and to see him back on the field gives a boost to everyone there," he said.
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