Mystery surrounds Mitchell injury - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mystery surrounds Mitchell injury

By Roger Vaughan 18/04/2010 01:24:15 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn will only say a heavy knock caused their captain Sam Mitchell to miss most of the second half in Saturday night's AFL loss to Collingwood.

Mitchell came off during the third term at the MCG and trainers spent several minutes massaging his hamstrings on the boundary line.

He spent the rest of the game on the bench and there was media speculation that he had back spasms or a groin injury.

"Sam was just a little bit sore. He copped a pretty heavy knock, we were just a little bit mindful... he's a pretty important player to us and the game was shot," coach Alastair Clarkson said.

"So there's no point risking your important players in a game where you knew you were going to lose, so we rested him for the last quarter."

While it will be interesting to see how well Mitchell recovers this week, the good news is he has an eight-day break before the Anzac Day match in Launceston against North Melbourne.

Collingwood belted Hawthorn by 64 points and apart from Mitchell's mystery problem, the Hawks also lost Xavier Ellis in the final term with concussion.

Ellis was stretchered from the field after his head accidentally hit Travis Cloke's knee, but he was walking along the boundary line by the end of the match.

Clarkson was philosophical post-match, saying it was an "un-Hawthorn like performance", but also noting it had been a big start to the season.

After thrashing Melbourne in round one, the Hawks had narrow losses to Geelong and the Western Bulldogs in ferocious contests.

They also had successive six-day breaks before playing the Magpies and Clarkson noted that Collingwood caught his side at the perfect time.

"We've got to stay pretty philosophical, we've had a pretty tough program and the first three weeks of the season, we couldn't question the endeavour or commitment of our players whatsoever," he said.

"Tonight was an un-Hawthorn like performance. We're disappointed with the way that we played, but the 'Pies probably got us at a pretty good time.

"It's not an excuse, but I thought we were just a little bit off our best game tonight - or a fair way off our best game - and the 'Pies capitalised on that."

Clarkson also noted Geelong and the Bulldogs lost the week after playing Hawthorn.

"It's no surprise that the Cats after our game get knocked off as well and the 'Dogs get knocked off tonight. They're physical, demanding games," he said.

Hawthorn have endured a tough run in the last month with injuries and suspensions, but those problems will start easing.

Lance Franklin and Liam Shiels will return from suspension for Launceston, while key midfielders Brad Sewell and Shaun Burgoyne are on the verge of returning from injury.

"We feel like if we can stabilise our side, it will give us some chance to get some sort of continuity with our patterns of play," Clarkson said.

"It's a long way to go, we're not happy that we're one and three, but we're not out of the season by a long shot.

"It's the first time for about three weeks that we can actually take a breath."

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