Star Fremantle ruckman Aaron Sandilands will not require surgery on his injured left toe but will still be sidelined for up to four weeks after consulting with a specialist in Melbourne.
Sandilands re-aggravated his ‘turf toe’ condition against the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night in his first game back after spending four weeks on the sidelines.
The three-time All Australian flew to Melbourne on Sunday to seek specialist advice, and the need for surgery was ruled out on Monday.
Sandilands will still be sidelined for the next four weeks, missing games against Gold Coast (Patersons Stadium), the Sydney Swans (SCG) and West Coast. Fremantle has a bye in round 16.
In more good news for Fremantle, the influential ruckman has extended his contract with the club until the end of the 2014 season, signing a one-year extension.
Captain Matthew Pavlich said the injury news was positive for Sandilands and the team following suggestions the star big man’s season could be over.
“It’s not great to have him out, but certainly positive news in that he’s only aggravated the toe injury,” Pavlich, who will play his 250th AFL game this Saturday, said.
“It’s not anything progressively worse, (so) it seems as though he’s a chance not long after the bye. It’s a really positive result, and it’s likely to be only sort of two, maybe four weeks.”
By securing Sandilands for an extra year, Fremantle has signed its three brightest stars until the end of the 2014 season after Pavlich and clearance specialist David Mundy re-committed late last year.
“He (Sandilands) will finish his career here,” Pavlich said.
“There’s a few of us now that will do that, and that’s really pleasing.”
Fremantle’s 23-point win over the Brisbane Lions last Saturday night was also soured by the loss of Luke McPharlin, but Pavlich said the club had received positive scans on the defender’s groin injury.
“He’s walking around really freely today (and) there’s the potential for him to be a test later in the week,” Pavlich said of McPharlin.
“Given all the injuries we’ve had the doctor took a really conservative approach, but he’s a chance for later in the week.”
Fremantle’s horror injury list should shorten somewhat this week, with key defender Antoni Grover, goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne and utility player Tendai Mzungu all in line for selection.
Midfielder Michael Barlow pulled up sore following his first game back from a broken leg and missed Saturday night’s win, but Pavlich said he was also a chance to face the Suns at Patersons Stadium.
“It was always going to be a chance with Mick that he’d play one, miss one, miss a couple,” the captain said.
“When it’s an injury of that significance, I think everyone has to temper their expectations, both of what he does when he’s out there playing for us, but certainly his ability to back up week-in, week-out.
“We’re hopeful that if it’s not this week he’ll be right after the bye. We’re likely to get Grover, Ballantyne and Mzungu back for this week.”
Pavlich said his 250th AFL game this Saturday would be a significant milestone, with the club’s 2006 preliminary final appearance and last year’s return to September with a young side his career highlights so far.
The captain, who returned to form against the Lions with five goals in a best-afield performance, said pushing towards 300 games was not on his mind.
“We all know by virtue of our absolute situation this year with our injuries that it can change really quickly,” he said.
“Let’s focus on 250 and we’ll move forward from there.”