Gibson return should buoy Saints captain - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gibson return should buoy Saints captain

By Adam Cooper 27/06/2010 06:40:39 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt is likely to be buoyed in his pending AFL comeback by a successful return to football by Hawthorn defender Josh Gibson on Sunday.

Gibson played half a game for VFL side Box Hill in his return from a hamstring tendon injury similar to the one Riewoldt suffered in round three.

Gibson was also injured in the third round, but Hawthorn football manager Mark Evans said the backman had made an encouraging return against Collingwood's VFL side.

"He went well, he played between 50 and 60 per cent of the game in seven-minute bursts, played at half-back and handled the ball really well," Evans said.

"The first thing for us is to check how he pulls up, but he got through pretty well."

Evans expected Gibson to increase his playing time to three quarters of the game for Box Hill next weekend, before he would be considered for a return to the Hawthorn side.

The former North Melbourne defender was only minutes into his third game for his new club when he damaged his hamstring tendon at Etihad Stadium in round three against the Western Bulldogs.

Riewoldt, who suffered an almost identical injury at the same ground two nights before Gibson did, has returned to full training with St Kilda and is close to making a return.

The star forward is reportedly running at full pace, taking part in contested-mark drills and believed himself ready to have played Geelong on Friday night.

Riewoldt could even push for a return against Melbourne at Etihad Stadium next Sunday, but the Saints will take caution given their skipper's worth to their premiership campaign and the severity of his injury.

Richmond star Matthew Richardson on Saturday urged St Kilda to take caution with Riewoldt, as Richardson last year broke down in his comeback game from a hamstring tendon injury and was forced into retirement.

St Kilda initially struggled without Riewoldt in their side as a focal point in attack, but their win over Geelong was their fifth in succession.

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