First Nations midfielder Harley Bennell (pictured) says he’s optimistic about his chances of returning to footy in 2017.

Its been  more than 500 days since Bennells last AFL game as calf problems have plagued the former Sun.

After seeking treatment in Germany in what many regarded as a last option for Bennell, he says he’s recovering well and is hopeful that the light at the end of the tunnel  is burning brighter.