“We have decided to manage Dale’s knee injury conservatively, and that means he will not require any surgery. Dale will go into a splint in the hope that the cruciate ligament heals,” the club’s medical services manager Chris Bell said on Monday.
“This is similar to how we managed his partial ACL injury to his opposite knee last season.
“We will assess the stability and degree of healing of the cruciate again in four-to-six weeks to determine when he can come out of the splint. It’s also at this time that we will get a clearer idea of his return to play timeline.”
Morris – the AFL’s third-oldest listed player behind Hawthorn’s Shaun Burgoyne and Fremantle’s Aaron Sandilands – has played 252 games since making his debut in 2005.
There will be more to come if Morris has his way.
“Not once have I thought, ‘maybe this is it’,” Morris said.
“That’s just not in my DNA. I want to play for as long as I can, and this doesn’t change that.
“I’ll be doing everything I can to get back, because I just love playing for this football club so much.
“Time-frame wise, we just don’t know. We’re going to be aiming for around that mid-year mark, [but] it could blow out, it could come in, we’ve just got to wait and see how it goes.”
The backman famously played through the 2016 finals with a broken back, helping the Dogs to their first premiership in 62 years.
The Dogs are dealing with injuries to several key players ahead of round one, with Tom Boyd (back), Jason Johannisen (ankle), Liam Picken (concussion), Bailey Dale (ankle) and Lin Jong (hamstring) all set to miss the early part of the season.