Hird denies Watson has hamstring issues - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hird denies Watson has hamstring issues

Robert Grant 22/07/2011 02:09:03 PM Comments (0)

Essendon coach James Hird has moved to dismiss fears that captain Jobe Watson could have long-term hamstring issues.

The Bombers have taken a safety-first approach with their skipper after he expressed doubts about playing out Saturday night's AFL clash with Carlton at the MCG.

Watson has again been ruled out of the side and will miss his fourth game in a row, but Hird said he would be available to play in the big match against Collingwood next week.

While Watson has been battling niggling problems this season, Hird said there was nothing sinister in the situation.

"It's interesting," Hird said.

"Jobe actually ran flat out on Wednesday and trained pretty much fully (but) just didn't feel quite right.

"I wouldn't even say it's a setback.

"The game is at a point now where the ability to rotate is not as great as it was and guys spend a bit more time out on the ground."

Hird said the club decided to be cautious with Watson's return after indications he may not be completely over the niggle.

"We were just not prepared to take a risk with Jobe," said Hird.

"As big a game as this is for us, we just can't afford to have a player go down in the middle of a game or miss more weeks.

"So we need to play it really conservative for Jobe and we're very hopeful he'll play next week."

While Watson suffered a hamstring issue earlier in the season, Hird said he did not believe it would become something he had to deal with regularly.

"Two different legs, so you'd hope not," Hird said. "There's always a concern when your best player, your captain gets injured and you hope they get better as quickly as possible.

"But there is no reason why it will linger.

"He just tightened up. Within the hamstring there's scar tissue which sometimes doesn't heal as quickly as you would have liked."

Hird admitted the Bombers got "cold feet" and left Watson out of last week's side to play Adelaide because of the hamstring problem.

Heath Hocking is also out, probably for two weeks, with a foot injury and Hird said the absence of the two leading midfielders against the fourth-placed Blues' speedy engine-room was "not great".

"But the guys who have been playing in the midfield have stepped up ... Jake Melksham, David Zaharakis and Angus Monfries have played there more and played very well," he said.

Again, Hird said that while a win would be important for his seventh-ranked outfit, the clash would provide another step in the development of the team this season.

"Another big test this week and hopefully we'll see our guys improve yet again," he said.

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