SYDNEY ruckman Callum Sinclair’s hopes of playing again this season hinge on how well his injured shoulder responds to rehabilitation over the next month.
Sinclair dislocated his right shoulder twice in the first term of the Swans’ 42-point victory over Gold Coast at the Sydney Cricket Ground last Saturday and played no further part in the game.
He’s avoided an operation at this stage, which would spell the end of his season, and the Swans are hopeful a strength program can get him back on the field this year.
Sinclair will miss a minimum of three games.
Sydney coach John Longmire told reporters on Monday that the club has been forced to take a wait-and-see approach with their lead ruck.
“We need to let it settle down, strengthen up the shoulder and take it from there,” said Longmire.
“It doesn’t mean he’s definitely going to come back, it doesn’t mean that he’s definitely going to have an operation, it just means we need to wait and see over the next few weeks.”
“It’s one of those discussion points in regards to not bad enough to absolutely do it just yet (surgery), so we’ll give him the time, give him a few weeks to settle it down, strengthen it up and see how we go.”
“His season hasn’t been written off just yet and we’ll see how he goes over the next three weeks.”
Sinclair’s absence means the Swans have just one fit recognised ruckman ahead of Saturday afternoon’s must-win clash against Essendon at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in mid-season draftee Michael Knoll.
Longmire said he wasn’t sure whether Knoll was ready to shoulder the load at senior level at this stage, having only arrived at the club in May.
Aliir Aliir and Sam Reid shared the duties against Gold Coast, forcing Longmire to shuffle emerging forward Tom McCartin into defence.
The Bombers will also be without their lead ruck after Tom Bellchambers injured his calf in last Thursday night’s crucial win over Greater Western Sydney, with former Fremantle big man Zac Clarke likely to be his replacement.
Longmire said the look of the opposition’s 22 is the least of his concerns this week.
“It’s hard to know what they’ll do, it’s hard enough picking our team let alone Essendon’s,” Longmire said.
“We’ll look at it all in its entirety and hopefully come up with the right decision.”
“We’ve been really pleased with both Aliir and Sam, the way they’ve done it at both ends of the ground, they’ve had reasonably solid seasons both of them.”
“This is just another challenge for our team to adapt and be flexible, and problem solve, and that’s what it’s about.”
“We will work through that as we work through every other challenge.”
“You’ve also got to approach it with a positive mindset in regards to it is what it is and get on with it, and our guys have been doing that.”