Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL player Ryan Griffen.
Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL player Ryan Griffen. PAUL MILLER

Giants veteran could miss the remainder of season

AFL: Giants midfielder Ryan Griffen may struggle to play again this season after re-injuring his ankle during a simple training drill and undergoing surgery.

The heart and soul star was on the verge of making his return from a 10-week lay-off with syndesmosis when he further damaged his left ankle on the weekend in a major setback that will rule him out for at least three months.

It leaves Griffen precious little time to force his way back for the finals, a significant blow which only heightens the need for GWS to effectively manage their other experienced big names like Steve Johnson and Shane Mumford through a long season.

Griffen went under the knife on Tuesday.

"Ryan was progressing really well from his initial ankle injury and a few weeks from returning to the field," said Giants performance head David Joyce.

"Unfortunately during a drill at training, he's re-injured the ligaments at the top of the ankle.

"It's a more severe injury this time around and required surgery, which he underwent on Monday."

Johnson is set to return this weekend against Carlton pending a fitness test, but his latest stint on the sidelines won't be his last in 2017.

Giants coach Leon Cameron has mapped out a plan with the 33-year-old where he will be rested at certain moments in the season to ensure his body is ready to deliver when it matters in September.

Johnson is currently celebrating the return of his golf clubs after his car was stolen and involved in a high-speed police pursuit in Sydney on the weekend.

The clubs were tucked away in the boot of the car that ultimately crashed in Sydney's south, but Johnson himself is being monitored with far more caution by the Giants.

A nagging knee injury needs constant attention and GWS are making no secret of their intention to rest Johnson when they see fit.

"It's something that he and Leon pre-planned a little bit at the start of the year," said forwards coach Amon Buchanan.

"How many games that is, I don't know the exact recipe. But there will be stages where we've got to rest him throughout the year to manage it so he can get his fitness up and get his performances ready to be hitting the mark at the right time of year.

"I think he's happy he's got his golf clubs back and he can keep practising on his short game."

The table-topping GWS will also have ruckman Rory Lobb back on deck for their clash with the Blues in Melbourne.

GWS have been powering on without a host of top-line players, but Buchanan admits Lobb's size will be a timely addition.

"Clearly we've missed his contests in the air a little bit so he's one that has a huge impact in the air," he said.

News Corp Australia


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