Freo's Michael Johnson out for 4-6 weeks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Freo's Michael Johnson out for 4-6 weeks

By Justin Chadwick 07/07/2009 07:14:50 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle defender Michael Johnson has been ruled out for the next four-to-six weeks of the AFL season after undergoing surgery on his ankle.

Johnson suffered ligament damage in the Dockers' round 10 loss to Richmond but bravely played out the match as several of his teammates succumbed to injury.

The 24-year-old was forced to go under the knife last week after struggling to shake off the complaint.

And in a further blow to the Dockers, youngster Brock O'Brien - who has played just three games since making his debut in 2007 - will miss the rest of the season with a quad injury.

Johnson and O'Brien's setbacks couldn't come at a worse time for the Dockers, who are on a seven-game losing streak and have already lost young gun Rhys Palmer (knee) and Ryan Crowley (foot) for the season.

Roger Hayden (fractured leg) is still at least three weeks away from resuming, while skipper Matthew Pavlich will miss Saturday night's match against Adelaide at AAMI Stadium with a calf complaint.

The Dockers have been rated rank $5.75 outsiders by TAB Sportsbet to topple the Crows, who are riding high on a six-game winning streak and aiming to break into the top four.

Fremantle will welcome back hard-nut Dean Solomon from his club-imposed suspension, but coach Mark Harvey has flagged the possibility of resting youngsters Stephen Hill and Nic Suban due to their heavy workload.

The Dockers have fielded nine debutants this season but the influx of youth has left Fremantle vulnerable late in games.

That was evident on Sunday, when the Dockers led Carlton by 36 points in the second quarter only to be over-run after halftime.

Fremantle defender Antoni Grover admitted it was a game the club let slip but felt the future was rosy with so many first-year players impressing.

"Out of 10 I'd give them 10," Grover said of the new boys, including the likes of Hill, Suban, Greg Broughton, Matt de Boer and Hayden Ballantyne.

"Having so many young guys in and having so many experienced players injured definitely had an impact (on us not running out games), but on the other side of the coin getting so many games into the young guys will hold us in good stead in the future."

The Dockers have won three of their past six games against the Crows in Adelaide but enter the latest instalment with a vastly inexperienced squad.

"It's a new opportunity for us to go over there, there are some guys who haven't even played at AAMI Stadium before," Grover said.

"They've been in terrific form of late and we're looking forward to the challenge."

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