Defender Dylan Roberton's return to training has been a morale boost for St Kilda, says coach Alan Richardson.
Roberton has been ruled out for the rest of the season while he overcome an issue with his heart.
He collapsed without warning during the round four defeat to Geelong, and later had a device implanted in his chest so doctors could monitor his condition.
He's continuing to have his heart tested while he returns to training, and Richardson says he's making progress towards a comeback in 2019.
Roberton, who made the initial All-Australian squad last season, has not played since the Cats game and the Saints have missed him. They didn't win any of the next eight games after he was sidelined.
Richardson said having the 27-year-old former Fremantle player back in training had lifted the club: "He's not doing everything the boys are doing, but he's really upped the ante in terms of his running volume and speed.
"It's designed to see how he's going and so far the medicos are really pleased, so that's incredibly exciting; it's heading the right way."
Roberton last year extended his contract until the end of the 2021 season, and Richardson said when he was able to return it would be the equivalent of the club getting a boom recruit.
The Saints have edged clear of a battle against the wooden spoon over the past month, with wins over Gold Coast and Melbourne.
If they beat Carton at Etihad Stadium on Friday it will take them 14 points clear of the bottom-placed Blues.
St Kilda are 1/3 to beat Carlton, who are 5/2. The Saints are 93/100 conceding a 21.5-points start.
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