RICHMOND midfielder Kane Lambert has had surgery on his ankle and is facing a race against time to be fit for the start of finals, while small forward Dan Butler has also had an injury setback.

The hard-running Lambert injured his ankle early during the Tigers’ 74-point thrashing of Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium last Saturday, but managed to play out the match to finish with 25 possessions and six inside 50s.

“He played out the game, but probably wasn’t able to run as well as he normally would,” said Richmond physical performance manager Peter Burge.

“He was a little bit inhibited and came in yesterday limping. So, we had that scanned and it came out that he’s got a partial syndesmosis sprain in his ankle.”

“He went into some minor surgery (on Monday) morning to put some reinforcement onto the ankle. Right now, he’s probably going to miss the next two weeks and we’re going to prepare him for the first final.”

Butler, meanwhile, hasn’t played since round 16 due to a similar syndesmosis injury to Lambert’s and underwent minor surgery on Friday.

“He’d been progressing and building his speed and running about 95 per cent, but still with a bit of a limp and still not full power,” Burge said.

“So, last Friday night he went in and had the same minor surgery that Kane had this morning, which means he’s going to miss probably the next two games. We’re preparing him for the first final at this stage.”

In better news for Richmond, ruckman Toby Nankervis should be right to play against Essendon.

“Toby had quad cork from the game the week before (against Geelong). He was a little bit sore during the week and we just took the opportunity (to rest him), but he’ll be good to go this week,” said Burge.

Reece Conca’s comeback in the VFL from a dislocated ankle was short-lived, with the rebounding defender rolling his ‘good’ ankle.

“Reece was down to play 70 minutes of the VFL game, and with four of those minutes to go he sprained his ankle quite badly,” Burge said.

“He walked in yesterday feeling not too bad and today he’s even better. So, right now, he’s some chance of being available to play this week, but more than likely will miss just one game.”

Running defender Oleg Markov (knee) has resumed running and may return for the first week of the VFL finals (which is the AFL bye weekend), but while the luckless Nathan Drummond (hamstring) jogged for the first time on Monday, he is less likely to play this year.

Livewire forward Shai Bolton is set to start running at the end of the week after an arthroscopy and clean-up of his meniscus, with Richmond hopeful he will feature in the club’s VFL finals campaign.

The VFL team has a bye this week, while the AFL side takes on the Bombers on Friday night.

Connor Menadue (19 possessions and eight marks in the VFL) is one who could replace Lambert, while Sam Lloyd (16 and 12 tackles) is another option.

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