GOLD Coast captain Gary Ablett will be ready to hit the start of pre-season in top shape, despite being ruled out for the rest of the year with a medial ligament tear in his left knee.
That is the view of leading sports medico Dr Peter Larkins, who told AFL.com.au Ablett would not experience any delays to his preparation for 2016, with the time on the sidelines to also allow his previously injured shoulder to heal even further.
With six rounds remaining in the home and away season, Larkins said Ablett would not push to return before the end of the Suns’ campaign.
“In normal circumstances it would be a five-to-six week absence anyway, and then he’d be fine to play. It won’t impact on his pre-season next year,” Larkins said.
“He’s had a horrible year, but at least we’ll see him back with both the shoulder and the knee ready to go.”
However, Larkins believes star Swan Lance Franklin will be fit for his side’s clash with Adelaide at the SCG.
Franklin was a late withdrawal for the Swans’ trip to Perth on Sunday after pulling up tight in his back following the team’s training session in Sydney on Friday.
“With the travel and the mobility he requires, they thought it (the back injury) could’ve got worse. By not playing they’re giving him the chance to get treatment this week,” Larkins said.
“They’ll test him later in the week but they’re optimistic that he’ll be free to go.”
Larkins expects Hawthorn defender Matt Spangher (hamstring) to miss up to three weeks after he was subbed out of Friday night’s game with Carlton in the second quarter.
However, his loss could be offset by the return of James Frawley, who dislocated his shoulder against Essendon in round 13. The ex-Demon could return as soon as Friday night’s game against Richmond.
Frawley got through unscathed in his comeback with Box Hill in the VFL on Sunday and collected nine touches and four marks.
“They were probably going to give him a second run but of course with Spangher going down with a hamstring injury, which is going to see him out for up to three weeks, it opens up the door for Frawley to get back in,” Larkins said.
“If Frawley trains well during the week, with the shoulder strapped up, they’ll probably put him back in to play at AFL for Hawthorn this week.”
Larkins also said St Kilda skipper Nick Riewoldt could struggle to get up for the Saints’ trip to face Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
Against Melbourne on Sunday, Riewoldt suffered a cork in his ‘good’ left calf, adding to the soreness he carried in his right calf during the tribute match to his late sister Madeleine against the Tigers in round 16.
He was in serious doubt heading into that match, after he injured his right calf against Greater Western Sydney in round 15.
He also injured his calf in April and missed his side’s Anzac Day clash against Carlton in New Zealand.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if they say, ‘let’s have a week off and get both of them (calves) right’,” Larkins said.
Larkins also said:
– The Brisbane Lions would soon make a call on whether to put star midfielder Dayne Beams in for shoulder surgery, which would rule him out for the rest of the year.
– Fremantle faced a tough choice on whether to put Clancee Pearce in for surgery after he dislocated his shoulder against Richmond at the MCG on Saturday. If the Dockers opt not to go down the surgery path, Pearce could spend three to four weeks on the sidelines in a best-case scenario.
– Richmond ruckman Shaun Hampson was a 50/50 proposition for Friday night’s blockbuster against Hawthorn.
– Carlton forward Troy Menzel was “unlikely” to play against North Melbourne after pulling up sore with tightness in his adductor.
– Sydney Swans ruckman Mike Pyke continues to struggle with his chronic knee condition and would face a fitness test later in the week to determine his availability for the game against the Crows.
– Giant Rhys Palmer (corked hamstring) and Saint Jimmy Webster (ribs) would be in some doubt in round 18