Fantasy coaches are always taking risks, and one of the main types of players they take risks on are those whose prices are discounted due to injuries sustained the season before. This makes it vital to keep abreast of injury information, and lists of who is on the dreaded “modified program” at preseason training. Modified programs mean no contact drills and most of the work spent indoors at the gym, with training sessions restricted to some handball work and running laps. So, who’s on the modified programs at each club?
Brett Burton – Still scheduled for late second half return after ACL tear.
Patrick Dangerfield – Carrying a calf problem, though it sounds like it’s fading away.
Andrew McLeod – Had offseason knee surgery and will be restricted for most of the preseason. The AFL site reckons he’ll play one or two pre-season games but it doesn’t sound promising.
Jason Porplyzia – Finally had the shoulder reconstruction he desperately needed and the club is reportedly “optimistic” about round 1. Personally, I’m not that fussed about shoulder injuries, as players can often play through them and perform just as well… like Lance Franklin did this year, for instance.
Simon Goodwin – His troublesome back, which hampered him through a lot of 2008, seems to be improving.
Graham Johncock – Missed a lot of pre-Christmas sessions while undergoing a mysterious secret training regime, but has looked like a million dollars since returning to team training. Perhaps an intensive Nicorette patch program? 😉
Trent Hentschel – Some observers still detect limping at times during training.
Jonathan Griffin – Still riding bikes after hip surgery in September.
Tony Armstrong – Running laps and cycling after his fractured forearm in round 21.
Kurt Tippett – Tweaked his left knee in the last training before Christmas, no word on severity.
Simon Black – Ankle surgery in November put him out for six weeks, but should be resuming shortly.
Matthew Leuenberger – Training reports are impossible to get out of the Lions, so I don’t know how he’s traveling, but his knee surgery from the round 15 injury would have to be affecting his preseason.
Adam Hartlett – Tore cartilage in a knee 30 minutes into the training session on December 22. The kid’s had rotten luck with injuries. If you hadn’t already crossed him off your lists after getting burned this year, time to do it now.
Matthew Kreuzer – Will resume full training post-Christmas after a hip injury.
Brad Fisher – The dislocated elbow came at a good time for him to get back to training before the real stuff starts, but it’s going to hamper his chances of keeping his spot in a position where the Blues have multiple blokes putting their hands up to fill – Kreuzer being just one – so the fact that Fisher’s arm will be in a brace until mid-January is not a good sign.
Richard Hadley – His perpetually injured groin will have healed up by the time January training restarts, reportedly, though it’s no guarantee to stay that way.
Robert Warnock – Offseason shoulder surgery is taking a while to recover from, with training not expected until some time after the new year. Is reportedly working on bulking up at the moment.
Joe Anderson – Another shoulder injury, this time more minor and will rejoin the main group after Christmas.
Jordon Bannister – Hasn’t played since round 5 this year after a bad hamstring strain and still isn’t training with the main group.
The Carlton rehab group at last training included Fisher, Heath Scotland, Ryan Houlihan, Rhys O’Keeffe, Lachie Hill and Adam Bentick.
Brad Dick – Seems to be progressing well on the comeback from a knee reconstruction, participating in full drills.
Anthony Rocca – Slow to recover from his ankle injury, scheduled to return to contact drills by late January.
Sean Rusling – His shoulder reconstruction should be fully healed by mid January.
Kevin Dyas – All sorts of rumours about how bad his hamstring injury was, up to and including a Matthew Lloyd-like tearing off the bone. He’s the only one that the Collingwood staff are definitely ruling out for round 1.
Tayte Pears – Inexplicably waited until late December to have hip surgery for a problem that had affected him during the season since round 15. Essendon called it a “minor clear-out” and claimed he’d be right for round 1. Pears had similar surgery on the other hip last pre-season. Oh well, he doesn’t have three hips, so he should be right now!
Jay Neagle – Limped off during training on December 15 with what was described later as an “ankle bruising” in a clash with Bachar Houli, almost crying with the pain according to one fan source. Doesn’t sound too serious but not a good sign.
Brent Prismall – Still scheduled for mid-season return after his ACL, despite the player’s own protestations about aiming at round 1.
Dustin Fletcher – Hurt his ankle at December 12 training but was back in the thick of it on the 15th.
The Bombers rehab group at last training included David Zaharakis, Scott Gumbleton, Mark McVeigh, Matthew Lloyd, Darcy Daniher, Jason Laycock, Kyle Reimers and Jason Winderlich.
Paul Hasleby – Training reports have been hazy, but those that have filtered through have not been rosy about Hasleby’s training form. The word “struggling” has been used more than once. Not a good sign for a candidate for being this year’s Nick Stevens.
Des Headland – At least Hase is pounding the turf! Headland hasn’t been seen on the track at recent Docker training sessions.
Among the Dockers running laps at the last session (frustratingly incomplete though the list is) were Matthew Pavlich, Adam Campbell, Chris Tarrant and David Mundy.
Matthew Egan – No improvement, unlikely to play again let alone in 2009.
Tom Hawkins – Oh dear, yet another modified program, this time due to his injured foot. Is the Tomahawk ever going to get a fair crack at a full preseason? Geelong staff are talking him up regardless but it sounds like wishful thinking to me.
Tom Harley – Some pundits have looked at the age of the Cats backline, particularly Daren Milburn, and thought there might be some more generational change needed. Harley’s knee is being nursed through preseason so maybe Harley will be the one who will miss some games early, allowing for the likes of Tom Gillies to be blooded in the ones? Or maybe not.
Steven Motlop – Has his arm in a sling after a shoulder injury, and while he’s aiming for the NAB he’s nowhere near senior ranks just yet.
Cameron Ling – A rumour published by Craig Hutchinson in the Herald-Sun that the Pink Pig had done a fetlock seems to have been quashed, with the ankle in question looking good at his last public appearance.
Luke Hodge – Offseason surgery to fix a torn labrum, club are making noises about him being ready for round 1 but I’m not so hopeful.
Jordan Lewis – Offseason surgery to fix a torn labrum, club are making noises about him being ready for round 1 but I’m not so hopeful. Wait, didn’t we just do this?
Trent Croad – Speaking of J-Lew, he let slip on SEN last week that Croad would be out until at least round 5 with his foot injury, despite the Hawks hierarchy swearing blind that he’s aiming at round 1.
Lance Franklin – Trained with strapping on his hand and favoured it noticeably.
Xavier Ellis – Murmurings on fan sites are now that Ellis won’t return until mid-season with that hip injury. The club is still claiming he’s aiming at round 1… is there an echo in here?
Max Bailey – Won’t be ready for round 1 after his ACL. I can’t see him getting past Brent Renouf and Simon Taylor anyway. Look elsewhere, I reckon.
Beau Muston – Always looks good at this time of year, but let’s see if his knee holds up.
Others in the rehab group at the last training: Robert Campbell, Renouf and Tim Boyle.
Russell Robertson – We won’t see him until the second half of the season with that achilles rupture.
Jared Rivers – Tore his groin muscle off the bone, so you wouldn’t expect big things out of him early even if he does get up for round 1. A perpetually injured player.
Brock McLean – Also aiming at round 1 with a very serious-sounding ankle injury, and like Rivers hasn’t done any skills work pre-Christmas.
John Meesen – Will rejoin the main group post-Christmas with his ankle.
Paul Johnson – Same as Meesen with his calf.
Also in the rehab group at last training were Colin Garland and James McDonald, while Colin Sylvia, Simon Buckley and Brent Moloney didn’t train at all.
Daniel Pratt – Roos training staff are concerned over his constant shoulder injuries, and to make matters worse he picked up a hamstring niggle at December 15 training. Will be eased into contact drills during January.
Robbie Tarrant – Another shoulder victim but his prognosis is more favourable, with round 1 the target.
Adam Simpson – Three shoulders! Behind Pratt in his rehab by a week.
Ed Lower – This is just ridiculous, a fourth injured shoulder at Arden St. He’s progressed the furthest of the lot.
Jesse W. Smith – Was removed from the main group to build up his ankle via the method of dragging a weighted sleigh around the park in the last pre-Christmas session… no reports of whether he developed a shiny red nose and antlers.
Nathan Grima – The Roos are using the same modified program as Smith to help him back from his ACL.
Leigh Adams – Ditto.
Others in rehab groups doing running only included Drew Petrie, Josh Gibson, Andrew Swallow and Daniel Wells.
Steven Salopek – Is apparently the only Power player in doubt for round 1 with his achilles injury, according to the medical staff. New fitness coach Cameron Falloon has been quoted as saying he won’t play NAB Cup and may not be risked for the first game or two.
Chad Cornes – Was put in cotton wool on the recent Power training camp, restricted to cycling. Quite apart from the hand injury that ruined his 2008, his shoulder and knee problems are the ones giving him gyp at the moment. For such an important fantasy player, this is not good news.
Jonathan Giles – Rolled his ankle during the training camp, didn’t sound at all serious though.
Michael Pettigrew – Restricted to non-contact duties with his shoulder injury.
Warren Tredrea – Ditto.
Peter Burgoyne – Had “minor” ankle and shoulder surgery in the offseason and has been running through December.
Graham Polak – Obviously. 🙁
Richard Tambling – Seems to have recovered from what some feared was osteitis pubis earlier in the preseason. Still worth watching though.
Trent Cotchin – Has been having some problem with an achilles, allegedly due to “overtraining”. Should clear up over Christmas, you’d think.
Mark Coughlan – Has jumped through all hoops so far, touch wood.
Jay Schulz – Attending training but sitting on the sidelines with a compression bandage on his knee.
Kayne Pettifer – Running laps, which is at least something after his late ACL last season.
Others in the rehab group at last training included Jordan McMahon, Chris Newman, Daniel Connors, Robin Nahas and Alex Rance.
Jarryd Allen – Will miss most of 2009 with hip complaint.
Matt Maguire – Trained on the Gold Coast with the team before Christmas but a scheduled return to skills work after Christmas is not assured. Worth keeping a very close eye on for Super Coach with that troublesome foot.
Sean Dempster – Apparently ahead of schedule with the ACL he suffered in round 22, but with the injury happening that late it would be amazing if he was anywhere near fit enough to play in round 1.
Steven Baker – Doubtful for round 1 with his knee injury from round 19 of 2008.
Also in the lap-running group at the Gold Coast training were Max Hudghton, Nick Dal Santo, Sam Gilbert and Lenny Hayes.
Nic Fosdike – Seems to be indefinitely injured with that knee. A real shame in my opinion, as I had him pencilled in as a hot fantasy prospect.
Tadhg Kennelly – The Swans report on afl.com.au was very bullish about most of Sydney’s long injury list, including a prediction that Kennelly would be back in full training in January after groin adductor release surgery in September and then a shoulder reconstruction in October. Coach
Eade’sRoos’ philosophy is to pay no respect to the NAB competition at all, so you’d expect to only hear of Kennelly playing in intra-club matches or maybe half of a NAB Challenge match if at all this preseason.
Adam Goodes and Craig Bolton – Both of these players went to Germany in September for “revolutionary” surgery to correct hernia-related groin problems. Hopefully they didn’t come back attached to each other’s groins. Both are also scheduled to return to full training this month.
Martin Mattner – His surgery on groin and hip didn’t require an international distress call, but he was up and running by late November and will be into contact drills with Goodes and Bolton.
The Sydney Swans rehab group is like a hospital ward with Michael O’Loughlin (ankle ligament tear), Heath Grundy (shoulder), Henry Playfair (ankle spur), Ted Richards (ankle spur) and Luke Ablett (knee arthroscope) all going under the knife in November and expected to be back training fully in January.
Daniel Kerr and Brent Staker – Both sustained knee cartilage injuries late in the season and both have been very scarce at early training sessions. Kerr in particular is bobbing up now and then in Super Coach plan teams, so he’s worth keeping an eye on. Personally I wouldn’t touch him due to his disciplinary record, quite apart from his injury record, but a fair few of you are prepared to look past both problems, apparently.
Adam Hunter and Brett Jones – Both were booked in for knee surgery after round 15, while Hunter also had a shoulder reconstruction, and after the long layoff both are now training fully with the defender group.
Darren Glass – Played out the 2008 season with a strained left quadricep, and is back at training though he keeps getting toweled up by Mitchell Brown.
Chris Masten – Has been restricted to handball drills and in some sessions not shown up at all, after contracting osteitis pubis halfway through last season. He will no doubt be one to wait on for his NAB form.
Jamie McNamara – Had offseason knee surgery, though not much has been said about it.
Also in the rehab group at last training were Ashley Hansen, Josh J. Kennedy and Sam Butler.
Tom Williams – Safely in the rehab group after shoulder and other problems plagued his 2008, and is apparently going very well in the running drills.
Robert Murphy – A textbook recovery after October knee surgery and should be fine for January training. Part of his rehab was getting married just before Christmas, so hopefully he doesn’t bang anything on his honeymoon. Bang anything on his knee, I mean! What?
Daniel Giansiracusa and Brian Lake – Both had hip operations well before Christmas. Gia is on track with Murphy while Lake is a little way behind and should resume mid-January.
Adam Cooney – His Brownlow celebrations were cut short by a knee op in mid-October, with a January return to training on the schedule.
Andrejs Everitt and Stephen Tiller – Both have had shin soreness and are being treated gently over the new year break.
Jarrad Boumann – Had shoulder surgery late in December and is now in the rehab group.
Sam Reid – Picked up a knock to the leg in December training and disappeared from the track for the next week.
Dylan Addison – Has spent the time since his knee injury halfway through the season bulking up in the gym and is participating in full training.
Other Bulldogs in the rehab group at last training included James Mulligan, Brennan Stack and Tim Callan, while Mitch Hahn and Cameron Wight were absent.
Phew, that’s a big post! Let me know what piques your interest from the above in the comments.