Magpies sweat on fitness of five players - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies sweat on fitness of five players

By Adam Cooper 12/05/2009 05:34:28 PM Comments (0)

Injury concerns to key players have struck at the wrong time for out-of-sorts Collingwood, but the Magpies are hopeful their worries are not as bad as first feared.

While a hamstring strain will sideline key forward Travis Cloke for at least a fortnight, the Pies are hopeful five guns injured either before or during Monday night's thrashing by St Kilda can play Carlton on Sunday.

Ruckman Josh Fraser (knee), forward Paul Medhurst (ankle) and midfielders Leon Davis (abdominal strain), Dane Swan (groin) and Dale Thomas (soreness) are the players the Magpies are sweating on ahead of a vital clash against their arch-rival, given both sides are locked on 3-4.

Fraser was initially feared to have re-injured the posterior cruciate ligament in his knee late in the match, in a repeat of the injury he suffered rucking for Victoria in last year's state game.

That injury affected him for two months afterwards, and cost him games in rounds eight, 13 and 14.

But Collingwood football chief Geoff Walsh was hopeful Fraser's injury was not as bad as last year's.

"He's had a few troubles in the past with his PCL and he tweaked it again last night," Walsh said on Tuesday.

"But he's pulled up pretty well considering, and he knows his knee pretty well and expects to be playing (Carlton)."

Fraser will be assessed later in the week and is unlikely to be risked given his importance to the side and Collingwood's dearth of quality back-ups in the ruck.

Walsh said Davis and Medhurst, who withdrew before the game, were both expected to recover.

The Magpies were also confident of having Swan and Thomas available to combat the Blues' blue-chip onball brigade, as both could have returned against the Saints had the game been in the balance.

The returns of forwards John Anthony, from suspension, and Sean Rusling, set to return in the VFL after recovering from a shoulder injury, is also handy.

But Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse would dearly love Cloke and Alan Didak, still at least a week off returning from a hamstring injury, to spark his side, which was badly shown up for a lack of class by the high-flying Saints.

"I'd like to have a full book of players, but I think we can test anyone," Malthouse said after the 20.8 (128) to 5.10 (40) defeat.

"But you test them on the night, the way the draw is and the way you prepare and with the players who are available."

Malthouse said the loss of players on Monday night limited his side's flexibility, but stressed the injuries had no bearing on the result.

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