Former Adelaide AFL defender Alex Keath is aiming to be in full training with the Western Bulldogs after Christmas following off-season ankle surgery.
Keath put off a planned holiday to Vietnam when Bulldogs medical staff advised the Crows that he needed an operation, rather than the non-surgical rehabilitation that Adelaide had settled on.
But the 27-year-old is comfortable that the right decision was reached ultimately and is confident he will be ready to take the field in round one for his new club.
"I ended up getting the surgery, it was a good time of the year to get it done and it shouldn't affect my season," Keath told reporters on Friday at Whitten Oval.
"I needed to get it right because there was a potential trade coming up. It was important to make sure my ankle was in the best possible condition, but the Crows were fantastic.
"There was a possibility that I might have had to walk back to Adelaide (if a trade didn't happen) and, if that was the case, they were very comfortable with the surgery."
Keath had a rod inserted in his lower leg to help heal a stress fracture which had troubled him since July.
Despite the setback, the former cricketer played 18 games in a breakout season and became one of the competition's elite intercept defenders.
The Bulldogs pounced with a three-year contract offer, with a trigger for a fourth, for the 30-game defender which Adelaide weren't in a position to match.
In a trade which went through just 15 minutes before the deadline, Keath joined the fire sale conducted by the Crows as they offload six veterans, looking to embark on a new era under Matthew Nicks.
He joined Eddie Betts (Carlton), Josh Jenkins (Geelong), Hugh Greenwood (Gold Coast), Cam Ellis-Yolmen (Brisbane) and Sam Jacobs (GWS) in departing the club after a disappointing two seasons out of the finals.
Ellis-Yolmen and Greenwood have spoken candidly about the troubled culture at the Crows, with Ellis-Yolmen particularly scathing of the ill-fated Gold Coast camp.
Keath was unwilling to delve too deeply into the goings-on at his former club.
"The camp is a long time ago now and I think everyone has moved on," he said.
"I think it's a result that's good for all parties.
"Adelaide are obviously looking to get a bit younger and the Bulldogs, on the flip side, were looking to add some experience, so that was where the opportunity lied for me."
Australian Associated Press