No risks with key Saints: Lyon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No risks with key Saints: Lyon

28/07/2009 07:02:38 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda are set to adopt a conservative approach towards big men Justin Koschitzke and Michael Gardiner before the AFL finals.

But Geelong are taking a different approach and remain hopeful they could this weekend get Brad Ottens back playing for the first time since round two, given the encouraging progress the ruck-forward has made in his recovery from a knee injury.

Forward Koschitzke (cut hand) and ruckman Gardiner (corked calf) are no certainties to return to play Sydney on Saturday night at the SCG, where the unbeaten Saints will seek an 18th consecutive win.

Coach Ross Lyon said on Tuesday the Saints did not want to take risks with injuries a month out from the finals.

Koschitzke missed last Saturday night's victory over the Western Bulldogs because of suspension, but is no guarantee to return from the split webbing he suffered the win over Adelaide in round 16.

Lyon said Koschitzke, who has booted 36 goals in 15 games, would definitely not play the Swans if he needed a painkiller.

"He could have played last week (if not suspended) if we had put a bit of local (anaesthetic) in him to play," he said.

"But everyone is talking about management issues and are you resting your players and all those sorts of things, but we are being more conservative about needling players up.

"There was no nerve damage, just split webbing, but it has taken a little longer than we would have liked (to heal).

"He will get the stitches out by end of the week and we will make a decision on him, but it's about us wanting to get him 100 per cent rather than 99 and eradicating any risk with Justin because he is really important to us."

St Kilda are likely to employ the same approach with Gardiner, who has sat out the past two games.

"He ran fully with the group last Thursday and did a one-on-one session today and we are confident he will come up but it will be a no-risk policy," Lyon said.

Ottens strained a knee in the round-two win over Richmond, but has been on a recovery process that was initially expected to keep him sidelined for about six games.

But Cats coach Mark Thompson said Ottens could play in Geelong's VFL side this weekend if he got through training well on Wednesday.

The Cats play Adelaide at Skilled Stadium on Saturday.

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