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Adam McNicol  February 4, 2013 11:20 AM

Daniel Menzel speaks on surgery Hear from Daniel Menzel on his pre-season surgery
GEELONG'S older players are doing their best to support Daniel Menzel as the super-talented youngster tries to return from his third knee reconstruction.

The 21-year-old secretly underwent LARS surgery on his left knee in December after damaging the joint during a tackling drill.

"I was here when Mark Woolnough went through the same thing," Cats veteran Paul Chapman told AFL.com.au. "I think he had at least two knee reconstructions.

"It's hard to comprehend, especially for me, because I haven't really had any major injuries like that.

"I go and talk to 'Menz' and see how he's going. I talk about his rehab and see where he's at, and I think that helps.

"It's good for him to know that the older players care about him and for him to get the chance to talk about it."

Menzel previously tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while playing for Geelong's VFL team against North Ballarat at Simonds Stadium in early June last year.

It was his first competitive hit-out since he needed reconstructive surgery on his right knee after going down in the 2011 qualifying final win over Hawthorn.

"To be up and about and so close to playing and then get knocked down again, and then to have that happen again and again, it must be so tough," Chapman said.

"He's a very strong person, but it's got to take its toll, no matter how strong you are.

"He's a great kid, such a good footballer, so talented.

"He's taking it all in his stride, and all we can be is a good support for him. We all try and help him in any way we can."

In a positive development, Menzel's surgeon last week gave him the go-ahead to resume running, and he is aiming to be ready to play in round one of the VFL season.

"We definitely need him back out on the field, but you can't rush these things," Chapman said.

"We hope we can get him back on the park and keep him there, because he's a huge talent and you want him to get the chance to use it."

Adam McNicol covers Geelong news for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter at @AFL_AdamMcNicol