Fraser's injury highlights concerns - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fraser's injury highlights concerns

By Adam Cooper 15/03/2005 07:18:51 PM Comments (0)

An unexpected bout of knee surgery for Josh Fraser has highlighted a glaring shortage of ruck options at Collingwood for at least the first month of the coming AFL season.

With Fraser and fellow big man Guy Richards sidelined for the first quarter of the season, the Magpies' next two options to take the tap at centre bounces - Cameron Cloke and the untried David Fanning - have played just seven games between them.

The blow comes on top of concerns captain Nathan Buckley is under-prepared going into the season because of hamstring troubles, while star forward Chris Tarrant's pre-season was also interrupted because of groin soreness.

Fraser underwent surgery to repair cartilage in his right knee after he felt sore following the Magpies' two-point win over Sydney in a practice game in Newcastle last Saturday.

"It just happened, he might have copped a bit of a whack and the ground might have been a bit hard in Newcastle but there was nothing he could remember," Collingwood football operations general manager Neil Balme said.

"They think it's just a bit of wear and tear. He could have played for a while with it but that could have caused more trouble so you get it done straight away."

The Magpies are hopeful Fraser's good recuperative record - the 22-year-old former No.1 draft pick has missed just eight games in his first five seasons - will mean he won't be in the stands too long.

"The worst-case scenario is six to eight games, but he might be back before that hopefully," Balme said.

Richards, 20, played 12 games in 2004 and won Collingwood's best first-year player award but is also sidelined after undergoing surgery to repair the posterior cruciate ligament in his knee and could miss up to 10 games.

With the Magpies' two best ruck options sidelined, Collingwood will have to gamble on someone untried in the early rounds of the season.

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