Injury to stall Baker return for Saints - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Injury to stall Baker return for Saints

By Roger Vaughan 11/08/2010 07:16:43 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon is unconcerned about how Steven Baker broke his toe, but admits it could delay the defender's AFL comeback.

Baker was diagnosed with the injury at training on Monday and he will be off his feet for about 10 days.

There has been speculation the defender had an accident with a 10-pin bowling ball, rather than suffering the accident at training.

Baker is serving a nine-match suspension and will not be eligible for selection again until week one of the finals.

"There's some conjecture, did he do it on the weekend, skylarking around a little bit or did it happen actually during the training session?," Lyon said on Wednesday

"It doesn't really matter, just to say ... there's a fracture, they've dealt with it and it's 10 days off (his) legs.

"I still haven't got to that `truth lasso' - it doesn't really matter, we can't distinguish."

Lyon said Baker pulled up sore after Monday's training session and admitted it could delay his return to senior football.

"Certainly it changes the equation of whether he can come straight back in, is the workload going to be enough to allow him to back in his experience and competitive spirit and come back in," he said.

"Or has it put him behind the eight-ball and he just needs to continue to train until an opportunity opens up?

"We'll assess that as it unfolds."

Lyon has also confirmed ruckman Michael Gardiner will miss Sunday's match against North Melbourne because of a hamstring injury.

Gardiner has been their No.1 ruckman this season, only missing one game, and Lyon will look at a couple of options to cope with his absence.

They might share the ruck duties between Justin Koschitzke and Ben McEvoy, or bring in a running player and go with only one ruckman.

Lyon said the performance of Carlton ruckman Robert Warnock last Friday night against Essendon showed the potential value of winning the hitouts.

Warnock's ruck work was crucial at the start of the final term, when the Blues quickly turned a tight match into a blowout.

"Gee whiz, you watch the Essendon-Carlton game on Friday night and if you're looking for the value of ruckmen, at three-quarter time the game was up for grabs," Lyon said.

"Warnock just flipped it around, they streamed out of the middle, three times, three goals.

"You start to see it's not about possessions - if you can those three clearances out of the middle ... it can be a powerful tool at the right moment in a season."

While Gardiner is sidelined, the Saints are hopeful fellow veteran ruckman Steven King will resume this weekend through the VFL.

King has been out of action since round seven because of injury.

"It would be nice (if King is available), because you can just see, Hawthorn's ruck stocks disappeared really quickly," Lyon said, referring to the Hawks' injury crisis earlier this season.

"Obviously I value it (ruck work) and if he's in the background, pushing through and keeping pressure on, depending on injury, maybe he can take an opportunity."

The Saints will wait until Friday before making a final call on full-back Zac Dawson, who is recovering from a hand injury.

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