Tigers may be licking wounds for a while - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tigers may be licking wounds for a while

By Adam Cooper 27/03/2009 07:51:30 PM Comments (0)

Richmond could feel the impact of their nightmare start to the AFL season beyond the next month given the injury concerns over Ben Cousins and Andrew Raines.

Still coming to terms with Thursday night's 83-point hammering at the hands of Carlton, the Tigers learned they would be without their big-name recruit and one of their best youngsters for at least the next three games.

Cousins (hamstring) and Raines (knee strain) will be out of contention for games against Geelong, the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne after they were injured in the last quarter of the season opener at the MCG.

But the Tigers concede the pair could be sidelined beyond round four given Cousins' history of hamstring problems and the uncertainty over Raines' injury.

Cousins was on Friday diagnosed with a grade-one strain in his left hamstring, which cast doubt over whether he can make a success of his comeback.

Cousins spent 18 months out of the game through his drug addiction and suspension for bringing the game into disrepute, but was also plagued by hamstring troubles late in his career at West Coast.

The Tigers were encouraged the 30-year-old's latest injury is a relatively minor one, but cannot afford to rush him back.

"We will take a conservative approach to treating Ben's injury, and he is expected to be on the sidelines for three to four weeks," Richmond football operations manager Ross Monaghan said.

Richmond are confident Raines' injury is not related to the knee dislocation he suffered last year, but are awaiting more test results.

They believe he suffered torn cartilage against the Blues, which would sideline him for a month provided there was no damage.

They expect to get more results on Saturday.

"At this stage he is expected to miss three to four weeks, but if the damage is worse than expected, he could be out for a longer period," Monaghan said.

In further frustration, midfielders Trent Cotchin and Mark Coughlan are not yet ready to resume in the AFL.

Cotchin is recovering from an Achilles injury and is not expected to return until round five at the earliest, while Coughlan is being treated cautiously as he returns from chronic hamstring problems.

Both will return via the VFL, but that competition does not begin for a fortnight.

Cousins' injury raised doubt over whether the Tigers did the right thing in selecting him at last year's pre-season draft, and whether he should have returned to play after being treated by medical staff at three-quarter time, when the game against the Blues was well gone.

But coach Terry Wallace defended both decisions, and said Cousins was being treated for soreness behind the knee at the final change.

When given the medical all-clear, he said, there was no reason for Cousins not to return.

Wallace maintained Richmond knew recruiting Cousins came with risks, but was adamant the Brownlow medallist was worth the punt.

"We knew there was a multitude of risks afforded to going for a player who has been out of the game for that period of time," he said.

"We understood exactly that, but he was picked with the last selection on our list and since I've been there I don't think we've had a last selection play a game, so we believe that risk was worth taking."

The fit Tigers must now focus on re-grouping after a horror start, and Wallace put the onus on his players to address the litany of mistakes they made against the Blues.

"It is one game, but you just can't say it's one game and try to push over the cracks," he said.

"There are some things there that need to be addressed and the playing group needs to address them."

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