Milne to train and possibly play - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Milne to train and possibly play

22/08/2008 07:16:41 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda forward Stephen Milne has always been known for his cheek.

By Sunday, he may be known for a cheek of a different kind - and the courage it took to play an AFL match just days after he had surgery on it.

Milne fractured his cheekbone in the Saints' win over Fremantle last weekend and played on, then endured a two-day drive home from Perth to Melbourne to protect the injury before an operation on Thursday to repair it.

But the livewire small forward, who polarises his own fans and is widely detested by those from the opposition, appears on track for a miracle recovery to play Adelaide in a must-win match at Telstra Dome on Sunday.

Saints skipper Nick Riewoldt said Milne's courage would never be questioned by his teammates - even before last weekend's effort to play on against the Dockers despite ugly swelling around his eye which badly limited his vision.

Riewoldt revealed Milne had also had surgery ahead of St Kilda's round 17 match against West Coast, then played days later.

"He was in a very similar position three weeks ago when we played at Subiaco - he suffered a similar facial injury, had surgery and then played the next week," Riewoldt said.

"So we were aware of that, it's terrific courage, and it sets the standard for the rest of the team.

"He's had a lot of detractors Milney, so to get through a game and contribute the way he did against Fremantle was huge for us."

St Kilda closed their training session, but named Milne in their final 22 on Friday night, suggesting he had done enough in the afternoon to please coach Ross Lyon.

Riewoldt said the Saints were likely to give Milne until Sunday to prove his fitness ahead of a huge match, with eighth-placed St Kilda needing a win to shore up their finals spot with two home-and-away matches remaining.

"He looks okay and it's hard to keep a bloke like Milney down," Riewoldt said.

"His eye's a lot more open than it was. Obviously his vision was pretty limited last week, but I've just seen him and he looks a lot better than he did.

"He needs to train to assess whether he's ready to play and I'm sure they'll give him right up until game day."

Meanwhile, the Saints have lost tagger Steven Baker for the rest of the season.

The club confirmed Baker had undergone an arthroscopy to clean up his right knee.

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