Lappin losing battle with injury - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lappin losing battle with injury

By Jim Morton 07/07/2008 12:59:34 PM Comments (0)

Nigel Lappin's glittering AFL career is hanging in the balance with Brisbane coach Leigh Matthews admitting the Lions were clueless whether the frustrated veteran would return from injury.

Triple-premiership winner Lappin has been sidelined for 11 weeks with a lingering Achilles tendon problem which is showing no signs of improving.

The classy 32-year-old, Brisbane's oldest player, is off-contract at the end of the season and would be at long odds to receive a new deal if he doesn't completely overcome the mysterious injury in the next eight weeks.

"Nigel's in that frustrating time where nothing seems to be improving greatly so it's a very difficult time for Nigel," Matthews said.

"It's a very frustrating time when you have that kind of injury which doesn't seem to have a time frame.

"It just doesn't seem to be getting better and the exact nature of the injury, I think, is a nervy thing in there and that means it is showing all different symptoms at different times.

"It's frustrating for Nigel and it's frustrating for the medical staff because at the moment it's not really getting better.

"He'll try and push through but really what the weeks hold for Nigel unfortunately is uncertain at the moment because it's been a long time since he played."

Matthews said the decision whether to draw a line through Lappin's season was not his but in the hands of the midfielder and the club's medical staff.

Lappin played just the first four rounds this year for 279 senior games in his 15-season career, coming after a strong 2007 when the previous year was written off due to a broken ankle.

Regarded by Matthews as one of the most humble people in football, Lappin knows 2008 may be his last if his ankle dramas persist but is determined to repay the Lions.

"If my achilles is right, then the rest is OK," he told News Ltd.

"I don't want to be the one holding a young bloke back, and money's never been an issue.

"I've been looked after by the club over the years so it's not about the money. It's about playing footy and being competitive.

"This year, it's hard to tell how long I have left, whether it's two months or 18 months. I went to my wife, Claire, and we talked about what I can do to give something back to the club."

While Lappin faces the dire prospect of an undeserving anti-climax to his career, Brisbane is set to welcome midfielder Travis Johnstone (hamstring) back from injury against Essendon at Telstra Dome on Saturday night.

Scott Harding (knee) is also available while free-running defender Jason Roe is listed for a test on his hamstring as the seventh-placed Lions look to bounce back from a one-point upset loss to lowly Melbourne.

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