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Luckless Johnson inspiring Swans

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Alex Johnson remains a source of inspiration for Sydney, four years and five knee reconstructions after his most recent AFL game.

Swans co-captain Jarrad McVeigh (calf), key defender Aliir Aliir (knee) and young gun Callum Mills (hamstring) are all racing the clock to prove their fitness for Saturday's grand final.

Should the trio be ruled out of the season decider - which is likely to happen if they fail to impress at Wednesday's training session - it would be heartbreaking for each of them.

But the woes to befall Johnson would act as a solid dose of perspective.

The 24-year-old contested the 2012 grand final but has since suffered a series of ruptures, reconstructions, complications and infections.

Throughout the luckless run he has remained not only upbeat, but a source of support for any Swans stuck in rehabilitation.

Take Sam Naismith for example, who was elevated to the club's senior list to replace Johnson last year.

Naismith has enjoyed a breakthrough season and will share the ruck duties with Kurt Tippett against Western Bulldogs at the MCG.

The 24-year-old struggled to get on the park in 2015 because of glandular fever and a groin injury, having dealt with more than his fair share of setbacks since joining the Swans in 2012.

"It's very frustrating. You're doing it all behind closed doors in what we call the dungeon and nobody wants to be there," Naismith told AAP.

"Alex Johnson has been a massive help for me. He's been in rehab the whole time I've been here at the club and look at how he's gone about it."

It's why so many teammates came to the SCG on a day off earlier this month to watch Johnson run laps.

The defender was given a round of applause as he ticked off a major milestone in his latest comeback, having been unable to run for 906 consecutive days.

"It was massive for the boys, because we all know how much it means to him to come back and hopefully play," Naismith said.

Key defender Heath Grundy agreed, noting it was "something special" to see Johnson's grin and the palpable glee among coaches and players.

"He's been running for a couple of weeks now and it's very exciting. He's in a good spot," Grundy said.

Grundy shared the 2012 premiership dais alongside Johnson, who was fully expected to be a permanent member of the Swans' back six for a long time.

Instead Johnson helped coach the Swans' reserves this year. His goal is now to play football again at any level, let alone return to its grandest stage at the MCG.

AAP©2016 AAP