Geelong coach Chris Scott has boldly declared that star defender Tom Stewart is some chance of returning from injury if they progress to the grand final.
Stewart told Perth radio on Friday night that he will begin running for the first time this weekend after having surgery on a Lisfranc ligament injury in mid-August.
The Cats face Melbourne in a blockbuster preliminary final in Perth on Friday night after grinding out victory against an undermanned GWS.
If they get through that, Scott said Stewart is still some chance of playing.
“Yeah we think he is, that’s the feedback we’re getting,” Scott said after the win.
“He’s ahead of schedule, which I find humorous when the guy is walking up stairs and that’s ahead of schedule.
Key injury: Geelong star Tom Stewart.Credit:AFL Photos
“Let me be really clear … I don’t get involved in the minutia of the medical decision-making but we need to be really clear as a club that we weren’t going to put his long-term future at risk by trying to rush him back for a final.
“So if he makes really good progress and the medical staff are clear that the risk is very, very low then we are open to the possibility.”
Scott’s comments fly in the face of prominent sports physician Dr Peter Larkins, who tweeted during the game that it was “delusional” that the club thought he could play again this season.
“Can’t believe Ch 7 commentary team are suggesting Stewart is an option to return for 2021 finals – no concept of what LisFranc surgery recovery entails,” Larkins said.
Patrick Dangerfield, who was relatively quiet by his lofty standards and was tagged by Matt De Boer, showed only glimpses that his hand injury is still bothering him and Scott refused to give any insight into the situation.
In a further injury blow to the Cats, important midfielder Brandon Parfitt went down early in the game with a hamstring injury that Scott admitted “didn’t look good”.
That could open the door for Quinton Narkle or North Melbourne recruit Shaun Higgins given that Parfitt will almost certainly miss Friday night’s game against the Demons.
That game will be played only three weeks after the Cats gave up a 44-point lead to the Demons at GMHBA Stadium, a contest that Scott himself admits will have relevance this week.
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