Injured trio unsure about round one - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Injured trio unsure about round one

Roger Vaughan 17/03/2011 06:46:57 PM Comments (0)

Luke Hodge is cautiously optimistic, Cameron Ling knows he could well miss and Nick Maxwell still is none the wiser.

Just over a week out from round one, the three AFL captains are all unsure about when they will return to senior football as they recover from injuries.

While Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett has declared himself a certain starter for their AFL debut in round two, his three counterparts are at varying stages of recovery.

Hodge, Hawthorn's new captain, and Ling, Geelong's veteran onballer, said the AFL's controversial new interchange rule could mean they will wait an extra week.

Collingwood's premiership captain Maxwell suffered kidney damage in the pre-season semi-final against West Coast and has done literally nothing for the last fortnight.

He must wait until a meeting with his specialist next Monday before having a better idea about his return.

Hodge has missed all of Hawthorn's pre-season matches because of an achilles tendon problem, but will return on Friday in a VFL practice match with Box Hill.

"You're always hopeful, but you're not going to go into round one injured, especially with the three (bench) rotations now," Hodge said.

"You can't go in half-injured and only expecting to play 60 per cent, so if I'm going to play I'm going to make sure I'm right."

The same applies to Ling, who injured his hamstring in a pre-season match.

Team-mate Paul Chapman is also coming back from groin soreness and Ling accepts that the two of them probably cannot come back in the same week.

"Scotty may leave me out for a week, which is probably a good decision, but we'll cross that bridge mid-next week if I have all the sessions under my belt," Ling said.

"The footy-specific stuff is now the challenge - the accelerations, change of direction and getting hit.

"That's the biggest thing, no matter how fit you are, once you start getting hit again and the repeat ground balls, you just blow up."

Maxwell confirmed he suffered no rib fractures in the bump from Eagle Andrew Embley, but he had to completely rest after he had kidney damage and internal bleeding.

"Basically I know nothing, I just had to have the rest I'm supposed to have and I've been bored out of my brains for two weeks," Maxwell said.

"There's no point guessing until we've had a look at the new scans.

"He (the specialist) said if I do everything right in the two weeks, which I have so far, then it should be fine.

"But he said if I didn't, there might be issues - I've done everything I'm supposed to have done, I've done nothing."

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