Tigers lose Richardson for 10-12 weeks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tigers lose Richardson for 10-12 weeks

05/05/2009 04:37:53 PM Comments (0)

Matthew Richardson's outstanding fitness should mean the oldest current AFL player overcomes his hamstring tendon surgery and is available for Richmond next season.

But Richardson's playing fate is not totally in his hands, given that current coach Terry Wallace is at the end of his five-year contract and the Tigers are in massive early-season trouble at 1-5.

Richmond are set for a senior-player cleanout at the end of the season - Richardson, Joel Bowden, Kane Johnson, Nathan Brown, Troy Simmonds and Ben Cousins are all 30 or older.

Richardson, 34, underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair a tear in his upper left hamstring tendon.

"It's not going to be a career-ending injury, we're hoping he comes back later in the year and plays some good footy," said Tigers football manager Craig Cameron.

"There's nothing to stop him playing next year if his mind is around him doing another pre-season and playing another 12 months of football.

"It's not going to be the injury that stops Matthew playing, it will come down to where he's at.

"Speaking to him ... he's really determined to do all the recovery he can post his surgery and get back to at least trying to play some footy this year or getting ready for a pre-season for next year."

Richardson is the oldest player in the league, having played 282 senior games since his 1993 senior debut.

He was third in last year's Brownlow Medal and this will become the first season since 2002 Richardson has not managed at least 18 games.

Tigers club doctor Greg Hickey was optimistic Richardson would play again this season.

"I wouldn't say he's a certainty to play this year, but we're certainly optimistic he'll be around for the latter part of the season," Hickey said.

"For a guy of his age, his body is in incredible nick.

"In some ways, by doing this injury, it's going to be fixed up and he may actually come back ... in a better state than he's been in the last 12 months.

"It's very disappointing this has happened, but I don't think we should be shutting the book on him just yet."

He will be out of action for at least 10-12 weeks.

Richmond were also vigorously defending their medical and fitness staff after Richardson's latest injury.

It follows the controversy surrounding Ben Cousins, who hurt his hamstring in round one.

Cousins had been discussing a niggle behind his knee with support staff at three-quarter time against Carlton before he started the last term and had to limp off soon after.

Cousins later said the irritation behind the knee and the hamstring injury were two separate issues.

Richardson went back on the field against Sydney last Sunday after hurting his hamstring early in the game.

He had managed a recurring problem with the hamstring tendon for 12 months and had suffered a strain in a small gluteal (buttock) muscle the week before in the win over North Melbourne.

Richardson's fitness, the fact he had managed the hamstring soreness for so long and his determination to return to the game meant the Tigers let him back on the field against Sydney.

The Tigers say the partial tendon tear, which happened against the Swans, is a fresh injury.

They initially thought it was only the latest episode of the year-long issue and he would be out for possibly a week, but a scan late on Monday showed the new damage.

"We back our medical team and our fitness staff," Cameron said.

"I'm just concerned we make the right decisions and I believe we made the right decision."

Hickey was asked if the buttock muscle strain could have affected Richardson's sore hamstring.

"It's a reasonable question, a good question, but he'd achieved his full strength by the middle of (last) week," Dr Hickey said.

"I would have been concerned going into the game if he was weak."

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