Sandilands avoids surgery and re-signs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sandilands avoids surgery and re-signs

By Justin Chadwick 27/06/2011 07:11:29 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle ruckman Aaron Sandilands avoided the surgeon's knife but will still be sidelined for four weeks by a worrying toe injury which failed to heal with rest, the first time around.

Sandilands flew to Melbourne on Sunday to seek the opinion of a specialist after re-injuring ligaments in his big left toe in Saturday night's 23-point win over Brisbane.

Leading sports physician Dr Peter Larkins feared surgery on the toe could rule Sandilands out for the rest of the season.

But the 211cm ruckman could be back by the round 18 derby with West Coast after scans revealed less damage than first thought, with the specialist recommending another period of rest rather than surgery.

And in further good news for Fremantle, Sandilands is set to play out his career at the club after signing a new one-year extension, tying him to the Dockers until at least the end of 2014.

Sandilands lasted less than three quarters in his first return from the toe injury, and Fremantle skipper Matthew Pavlich hopes it won't be a similar case when the 28-year-old makes his way back next month.

"There'll be a degree of risk," Pavlich said on Monday.

"But again, they (the doctors and physios) will take a really conservative approach with him like they did last time because he's so important to us. It will be a calculated risk.

"It's not great to have him out, but certainly (it's) positive news that he's only aggravated the toe injury.

"So it's not anything progressively worse. It seems as though he's a chance not long after the (round 16) bye.

"It seems like it's a really positive result, and it's likely to be only sort of two, maybe four weeks (out).

Fremantle have done well to re-sign star players Pavlich, Sandilands and David Mundy until 2014, when the Dockers hope they'll well and truly be in premiership contention.

Pavlich said Sandilands' new commitment is significant.

"It will mean the two of us will be grumpy together until that time," Pavlich joked.

"And Mundy as well.

"It's great news to have someone of that calibre (commit) to the club long term and he'll finish his career here. There's a few of us now that will do that and that's really pleasing."

Former Adelaide big man Jonathon Griffin is set to take Sandilands' place for Saturday's home clash with Gold Coast, while goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne, Tendai Mzungu and Antoni Grover are also chances to return from injury.

Defender Luke McPharlin could also make a surprise appearance after scans revealed no major damage to his groin, but midfielder Michael Barlow might be given another week off after pulling up sore from his return in round 13.

Pavlich, who will notch his 250-game milestone this weekend, booted five goals from 29 possessions against the Lions in a timely return to form.

But the six-times All-Australian claims recent criticism of his performances haven't affected him.

"Honestly, the external stuff hasn't bothered me or the team," he said.

"Vindication isn't something that anyone looks for in the game.

"It was nice to win and nice to play and contribute to that."

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