Cowboys omit Bowen for Broncos clash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys omit Bowen for Broncos clash

25/08/2009 07:40:05 PM Comments (0)

A final decision on whether to book career-threatening knee surgery for North Queensland NRL fullback Matt Bowen - yet again - will be made on Monday.

But Cowboys coach Neil Henry is still holding out hope that the livewire custodian will play again as early as Friday night.

Bowen did not feature in the North Queensland team named for their crunch clash against the Broncos at Townsville after appearing to succumb to an aggravated left knee strain.

However, it is his right knee that is the long term concern.

Henry conceded on Tuesday that Bowen's right knee may require the same radical procedure successfully completed on his left one in 2008, which would mean 10 months on the sidelines.

Henry said Bowen was scheduled to see an orthopedic surgeon on Monday.

While Bowen has been able to soldier on despite degenerating cartilage in his right knee, an aggravated left-knee strain suffered in Saturday's loss to Newcastle appears to have forced him out of the Broncos clash.

But Henry still needed some convincing.

"We will see at the end of the week but he hasn't been able to run since after the game without any discomfort so we will wait and see," Henry said.

"If there is some possibility of him playing we would certainly like to see him out there.

"But it's looking very unlikely at this stage. He hasn't been listed and I don't expect him to play."

Even if Bowen is told he must undergo the radical procedure - which involves cartilage being grown then inserted into the knee - Henry did not rule out the fullback playing again in their regular season finale against Sydney Roosters.

If they were still a finals chance, that is.

"There is a possibility he may need the same cartilage replacement ... operation done - if that's the case then it's an eight to 10 month recovery," he said.

"But I am not saying that is needed at the moment.

"There is some chance that Matty might play the last round.

"We are a slim chance of playing in the finals ... so if he is available we would like him in the team."

North Queensland must win their final games against the Broncos and Roosters and rely on other results to go their way to scrape into the playoffs.

Ty Williams - who coincidentally has also undergone the radical knee procedure - has replaced Bowen at fullback.

Henry was more hopeful that Ash Graham (foot) would play after surprisingly naming the centre for the Broncos clash barely 24 hours after fearing his season was over.

Graham returned from the Newcastle game on crutches but remarkably had scheduled a running session on Tuesday.

Ben Harris is on stand-by for Graham.

The wing vacancy created by Williams moving to fullback has been snapped up by ex-Queensland Origin rep Shannon Hegarty.

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