Star Demon Jack Viney in VFL injury return

Jason Phelan
Melbourne co-captain Jack Viney has been cleared to return via the VFL from a long-term foot injury

Melbourne co-captain Jack Viney made it clear he wanted to return from a long-term foot injury at AFL level, but the Demons held firm to save him from himself.

The star onballer was desperate to board the plane to Brisbane where the Demons will play Gold Coast on Saturday at the Gabba.

But after months of careful rehabilitation, he will play for Casey against Box Hill on Sunday in a VFL match at Casey Fields.

Viney is yet to play at AFL level this season as he has dealt with ongoing complications associated with a foot stress fracture.

But after too many setbacks last year and during a modified pre-season, Melbourne resisted the urge to let Viney loose on the Suns.

"He's going to play in the VFL, so it's obviously a slightly cautious approach by us," coach Simon Goodwin told reporters on Wednesday.

"We want to make sure that we really finish off his rehab and (help) his ability to get back to AFL right.

"It's great that he's back playing, but it will be at VFL and we'll have to wait one more week (for him).

"He's a determined and competitive young man but, ultimately, sometimes we have to make the decision that's in the best interests of him."

Goodwin doesn't foresee Viney's VFL stint lasting longer than one week, which means he will play against Carlton on May 20 at the MCG.

The 24-year-old hasn't played at any level since Melbourne's round-21 win last season over St Kilda.

He missed just two games after undergoing surgery last year to relieve plantar fasciitis in his right foot and later admitted he came back to soon.

Viney painstakingly worked through a carefully tailored pre-season program, but grappled with ankle and toe niggles - an unintended consequence of a change in his gait.

"Obviously, we want to get him back in the AFL team but we just think that he's been out for nine months," Goodwin said.

"We certainly prepared him to play AFL footy, but we think the best approach is to play him in the VFL to make sure he's 100 per cent ready to go."

Christian Salem is in the mix to play against the Suns after missing last week's win over the Saints with a broken thumb.