Hayes injury could be season-ending - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hayes injury could be season-ending

Roger Vaughan 02/04/2011 01:07:55 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda could be without their inspirational midfielder Lenny Hayes for the rest of the AFL season.

Scans are expected to show that Hayes has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, meaning a season-ending reconstruction.

It will be the second-straight season that the Saints have suffered a significant injury to a key player in the early rounds.

Last year, captain Nick Riewoldt needed surgery after badly damaging his hamstring in round three.

Hayes' injury early in the third quarter was one of several dramatic moments as the Saints drew with Richmond - 13.17 (95) to the Tigers' 14.11 (95) - on Friday night at the MCG.

"It doesn't look very good at all, but we'll assess and really responsibly inform the market as soon as we can, because there's nothing to hide here," said Saints coach Ross Lyon.

"He's obviously a great player and leader for us."

Lyon kept his players behind closed doors for about half an hour post-match and the Hayes injury was a key topic.

"When Riewoldt went down (last year), I spoke about Hayes' response (to that setback) - but let's not wait a couple of weeks to get going," Lyon said.

Lyon admitted Hayes' injury briefly affected the morale of his team-mates.

"We're a pretty tough mental group, but it looked pretty bad and I think it filtered through," he said.

The draw means three of the Saints' last four games have had a combined margin of just one point - the drawn grand final last year, the round-one loss to Geelong and now the Richmond draw.

Lyon and Richmond coach Damien Hardwick were disappointed not to win, but it was a better result for the Tigers.

While the Saints are coming off grand final appearances in their last two seasons, Richmond are rebuilding and were 15th last season.

Lyon was pleased his team responded after struggling through the middle of the game, but said they must improve quickly.

"It's reflective of our whole summer game playing - inconsistent quarters, some big quarters and then a malaise," Lyon said.

"There's no doubt it reflects our consistency of preparation, it has to, mentally or physically.

"We've got to keep working on that, no doubt - that's the underlying issue."

Hayes' knee was the second major injury story out of the game.

Richmond star forward Jack Riewoldt was subbed out of the match early in the second term after he suffered concussion during the first quarter.

Adding to the night's dramas, Tigers key defender Luke McGuane is certain to be suspended after he collected Farren Ray with a high hit in the second quarter.

McGuane was also involved in a controversial incident midway through the frenetic last quarter.

Under pressure, he rushed a behind and was penalised a free kick, resulting in a Saints goal.

Hardwick said the umpire probably made a mistake, but added it had been a tough game to officiate.

While the Tigers did well to recover from a slow start and push the Saints, Hardwick was far from satisfied.

"It feels like a loss, we're really disappointed," he said.

"From where we've come from, people will think it's as good as a win, but it's unacceptable as far as we're concerned."

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