Dempsey and Winderlich out for AFL season - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dempsey and Winderlich out for AFL season

By Guy Hand and John Salvado 17/04/2011 06:36:41 PM Comments (0)

So far Essendon coach James Hird has preached defence, added grit and determination, and uncovered quality.

Now he needs to replace speed to help keep his AFL team and his dream rookie coaching season on track.

The Bombers' worst fears were realised on Sunday with defender Courtenay Dempsey and midfielder Jason Winderlich needing knee reconstructions after serious injuries in the draw with Carlton.

Torn anterior cruciate ligaments have left the Bombers without two of their fastest players for the rest of the year.

With a game plan based in large part around using speed, how Hird replaces the duo could have a huge bearing on the Bombers' season.

At least he does have depth to call on for the looming Anzac Day clash with red-hot premiers Collingwood.

Forward Kyle Reimers, speedy Ricky Dyson and reliable Henry Slattery were among the best in the Bombers reserves' VFL win on Sunday, while ruckman David Hille is also in line to return.

Essendon did receive some good injury news with experienced Mark McVeigh now set to play in the Anzac Day clash.

Scans on Sunday showed McVeigh did not have a broken hand as originally feared after heavy swelling following the Carlton match.

Impressive youngster Stewart Crameri also pulled up sore from the bruising encounter against the Blues, but should recover in time to take on the Magpies on April 25.

Essendon football operations manager Paul Hamilton said the club was likely to stick with conventional knee reconstructions for both Dempsey and Winderlich rather than the revolutionary, quick-fix LARS surgery.

"Both players can expect to undergo surgery within the next two weeks but we will now proceed to determine what the best course of action is for both players and their longer-term futures," Hamilton said.

Meanwhile, West Coast defender Mitch Brown will consult surgeons on Monday to find out whether he has fractured or dislocated his thumb.

Brown was hurt during Saturday's seven-point AFL loss to Hawthorn in Tasmania.

Brown's possible replacement Brett Jones is also set for a stint on the sidelines.

He fractured his arm playing for WAFL side Claremont on Saturday.

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