Radical knee surgery could become norm - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Radical knee surgery could become norm

By Steve Larkin 25/04/2010 12:08:40 PM Comments (0)

Radical knee surgery which rapidly propelled Port Adelaide onballer David Rodan back to action could become the AFL norm, coaches believe.

Rodan was best afield as Port turned giant killer in handing flag fancy St Kilda their first loss of the season on Saturday night.

In his second AFL match since having a knee reconstruction just four and a half months ago, Rodan starred in Port's 10-point win over the Saints at AAMI Stadium.

Rodan's zip and pace was remarkable in a 27 disposal performance which justified having the radical ligament augmentation and reconstruction system (LARS) surgery pioneered in AFL ranks by Sydney defender Nick Malceski.

The LARS operation used a ligament of industrial-strength polyester fibres to replace the torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and has cut the time sidelined by a third.

Rodan's heroics and the continued good form of Malceski, who gathered a game high 30 possessions in the Swans' win against West Coast on Saturday, have coaches openly pondering whether the traditional knee reconstruction, which grafts tendons from other parts of the body, is obsolete.

Port coach Mark Williams and St Kilda coach Ross Lyon both expressed amazement at the success of the procedure.

"His surgeon was there talking to him before the game," Williams said of Rodan.

"And I said 'I can't believe you don't do this every week with every one of the people who get an ACL'.

"It has been remarkable.

"The ability of the operation to actually keep the player involved with the group - it doesn't put them aside for six months before they can come back and train.

"He (Rodan) was walking around the oval two weeks after (the operation), it was just amazing, it seemed like nothing more than a hamstring or an ankle injury.

"It kept his spirits up and kept him involved."

Lyon said the LARS surgery was "great for football".

"Is that the way it's going to go for everybody?," Lyon mused.

"They're bold, they are cutting edge and they go that way and fortunately it has worked."

Rodan ruptured the ACL in his left knee on December 16 last year.

The 26-year-old opted for the LARS surgery after having his right knee reconstructed along traditional lines when a Richmond player in 2005. A year later, he was axed from the Tigers.

Recruited by Port in 2007, Rodan's dominant display inspired his teammates during their 7.12 (54) to 6.8 (44) triumph over St Kilda, Power defender Troy Chaplin said.

"It's just amazing because after any normal reconstruction, guys don't walk or run for at least a month - and he was running after about a week, which is just phenomenal," Chaplin said.

"For him to come back in the team, we didn't expect much from him, we just wanted him to get a touch and start to get a bit of his speed back.

"He is just so powerful, he looks like he's in a rugby scrum, he just gets the ball and keeps making yards."

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