FREMANTLE small forward Hayden Ballantyne is only an outside chance of returning for this year’s final series after suffering a ruptured pectoral muscle on Saturday night, leading sports medico Dr Peter Larkins says.
Fremantle announced on Monday that Ballantyne would miss the remainder of the home and away season after scans revealed he would need surgery to repair the rupture he suffered in the first quarter of the Dockers’ win over Carlton.
Ballantyne will undergo surgery this week and Larkins told AFL.com.au the forward faced a race against time to be part of Fremantle’s upcoming finals campaign.
“He got his shoulder caught in a really awkward tackle and got a stretch on the shoulder, and has ruptured his pec or chest muscle,” Larkins said.
“So, at best, Ballantyne is looking at eight weeks on the sidelines, probably closer to 10 weeks, which really takes him deep into the September finals period, almost up to the Grand Final in October.
“He’s certainly not going to be able to come back inside eight weeks, which means it’s only an outside chance that he’ll be able to force his way back into Freo’s team for the finals.
“We’ve seen recently James Frawley was able to get back from a pec tear after four weeks on the sidelines but it’s important to make the distinction that his was a lower-grade tear whereas Ballantyne has a full rupture.”
Larkins also said Collingwood and West Coast will have significant holes to fill in the coming weeks, with key talls Travis Cloke and Jeremy McGovern both facing extended time on the sidelines.
Larkins told AFL.com.au scans had revealed Cloke had suffered a calf tear in the first quarter of the Pies’ loss to the Eagles on Saturday and would miss at least the next two rounds.
“They’ve had MRI scans which show the damage is in the soleus, the lower calf muscle, and they’ve excluded any structural damage so it’s a straight-forward calf tear,” Larkins said.
“At this stage it’s a bit hard to tell how long he’ll miss. But it’s probably going to be two or three matches and I think it will probably be closer to three weeks.
“The good news is it’s not as bad as first thought. He’s walking around a bit more comfortably today.
“He’ll get a lot of physio, he won’t play this week, but they’ll assess him on a week-to-week basis from there.”
Larkins said McGovern was substituted in the third quarter of Saturday’s game with a significant upper-hamstring tear.
“The Eagles are waiting for the scan results but I’m expecting that it will come back as a high-grade tear,” he said.
“Hopefully, Jeremy won’t require surgery but judging by the way he reacted and the mechanism of the injury I suspect he’ll probably miss three to five weeks. It certainly won’t be less than three.”
Sydney Swans coach John Longmire said on Monday that forward Kurt Tippett would miss two to three weeks with a broken hand and Craig Bird would be unavailable this week with a calf strain.
Larkins said Tippett had fractured a metacarpal bone in his right hand against Hawthorn on Saturday night, and had undergone surgery on Monday when a plate and screws were inserted in the bone.
“Kurt should be able to return in two to three weeks and will probably play in a glove when he returns,” he said.
Larkins expected Bird would miss two to three weeks.
Larkins also said.
– Collingwood could without Jamie Elliott (lower back) for another week. The Pies are hoping the forward will be able to train freely this week but it’s unclear whether ongoing irritation in his back will settle for Sunday’s clash against the Western Bulldogs.
– St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt is in doubt for Sunday’s clash against Melbourne after carrying a minor calf strain into the tribute game for his late sister Maddie. Riewoldt became increasingly restricted in his movement in the Tigers loss and will probably miss this week, with the Saints unlikely to risk him suffering a calf tear.
– Brisbane Lion Pearce Hanley will miss two to three weeks after straining his right hamstring on Sunday against Melbourne.
– Hawk Alex Woodward‘s career is in doubt after he ruptured his right anterior cruciate ligament for the third time in the VFL on the weekend. Given he probably won’t undergo a reconstruction until August, Woodward might not return in 2016 and surgical outcomes after three reconstructions remain unclear.
– North Melbourne utility Jamie Macmillan will miss three to four matches with a right hamstring strain, while teammate Aaron Mullett is in doubt for this round after being subbed out of last Friday night’s win over Essendon with hamstring tightness.
– There were concerns for first-year Geelong forward Cory Gregson after he was substituted out of the Cats’ win over the Western Bulldogs and subsequently applied ice to his foot while on the interchange bench. But Geelong is confident Gregson suffered no more than foot soreness and should be available for Saturday’s game against Greater Western Sydney.
– Western Bulldog Koby Stevens was a late withdrawal from the loss to Geelong after he pulled up sore from the bruised lung he suffered against Gold Coast in round 15. He will be tested later this week to assess his fitness for Sunday’s match against Collingwood.
– Fellow Bulldog Mitch Wallis copped a knock in the back against Geelong but only suffered a cork that was unrelated to the cracked vertebrae he had earlier this season. The midfielder should be available to play Collingwood after treatment this week.
– Gold Coast ruckman Tom Nicholls will probably miss Saturday’s clash against Adelaide after copping a high level corked thigh against GWS.
– Hawthorn wingman Bradley Hill was a late withdrawal from the Swans clash with a corked calf. No tear has been detected in the muscle but the Hawks will manage him carefully during training this week.
– Carlton forward Troy Menzel is 50-50 to play Hawthorn on Friday night after suffering a cork in the front of his thigh against Fremantle.
– Adelaide full-back Daniel Talia and GWS defender Matt Buntine will have to satisfy the AFL’s concussion protocols to play this round.