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Porplyzia awaiting all-clear for game

By Daniel Brettig 20/08/2008 05:29:16 PM Comments (0)

Battered Adelaide forward Jason Porplyzia is expected to return to active AFL duty against St Kilda this week - provided he gets a clear bill of health from a neuro-surgeon on Wednesday night.

Porplyzia has carried the burden of a loose right shoulder for much of the season, and two weeks ago his problems worsened when he suffered brain bruising in a collision with Carlton's Andrew Walker.

However he has stepped up training this week in a bid to be selected against the Saints, and needs only to be cleared by the surgeon for Adelaide coach Neil Craig to play him again.

Aware of Porplyzia's value as a prodigiously gifted attacking option, Craig should have little hesitation drafting him back into the Crows' 22 to face the Saints at Telstra Dome on Sunday.

"He's been doing quite a bit of physical work this week in particular, and all indications are that he feels fine, he feels ready to go, but probably the final decision will be made by the neuro-surgeon," Craig said.

"I think if the neuro-surgeon says he's okay we'd strongly consider Jason to play - we'd just go back to when he finished with the concussion.

"I thought he was in good form, he was playing with an understanding he had a shoulder injury he could perform with, so we'd go back to that and start to make our assessment of whether he fits into our side, and he was a pretty important player for us before he got concussed."

Off the field Craig is weighing up the closely linked futures of injured forwards Brett Burton and Trent Hentschel.

Burton has been offered a reduced contract for next year that he is yet to sign, but Hentschel's prospects of remaining on Adelaide's list are less neatly defined.

Currently sidelined by recurring hamstring strains that have bedevilled his efforts to return from a horrific 2006 knee injury, Hentschel must play again this year at some level to convince Craig he is on the way to regaining confidence in his body.

"There was some discussion of whether to call all bets off and just let Trent get into pre-season now; I didn't want that to happen, in discussion with Trent we thought it was better for him to rehab his hamstring and try to make himself available for any games that are left, whether it be AFL or for Woodville West Torrens," Craig said.

"I think the more Trent plays the better off he'll be - he's missed a lot of footy and he needs to get himself in a whole range of situations so he can get confident in that need.

"The only way he can do that is play, not rehab and run around ovals."

Craig said the club needed to decide whether or not it was shrewd management to take two injury-clouded forwards into 2009.

"If you're a player you just think `they're in there discussing me', but those scenarios we have to think about (Burton and Hentschel) do come into your decision making," he said.

"Sometimes an individual player doesn't want to hear that and I would fully understand why, but that's us making the best decision for the club overall."

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