Gardiner still aiming for AFL return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gardiner still aiming for AFL return

Roger Vaughan 29/06/2011 05:51:53 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon admits the pressure is mounting on ruckman Michael Gardiner to show his body can still hold up in the AFL.

Gardiner suffered another injury setback last weekend and has not played since last year's drawn grand final.

He has since gone to Europe for a knee operation.

The 32-year-old and the Saints are confident he can still be a solid AFL player, but his body has kept betraying him through this year.

"It's a critical phase for him, we obviously, going forward, need to make decisions on our list," Lyon said on Wednesday.

"He certainly has some good footy in him if his body can hold up, but we'll have to get all the information and make that decision at the right time."

Gardiner was supposed to resume in the VFL last weekend for his first game of the year, but was ruled out because of a hamstring problem.

Lyon said it should only set him back one or two weeks.

The coach added Gardiner is confident he will only need one game in the VFL before he is ready for his long-awaited AFL comeback.

"He hasn't lost any confidence and that's a reflection of how good he feels about his body," Lyon said.

"The time span is decreasing and he needs to get moving, but I'd be really optimistic."

Gardiner played 129 games for West Coast from 1997-2006 and has since played 51 games for the Saints, including 22 last season.

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