Massive blow for Danger as Cats make call
Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield will be sidelined for an extended period after undergoing an ankle operation on Wednesday night.
The Herald Sun has confirmed the Cats opted to send Dangerfield for surgery to repair his syndesmosis injury in a bid to get him back on the field in one to two months.
But the Cats on Wednesday night said Dangerfield would be out "indefinitely".
A clearer recovery timeline will be determined by specialists over the coming week.
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"Scans revealed a syndesmosis injury, and it was felt the best course of action was for Dangerfield to undergo surgery," the club said.
"Dangerfield will be out of action indefinitely, with his rehabilitation and recovery from the injury determining his return to play."
Dangerfield, 31, saw three specialists, including a trip to Sydney on Tuesday, before going under the knife late Wednesday.
The injury threatened to hamper Dangerfield all season if he didn't have surgery to repair his ankle.
But the Cats hope the operation will allow Dangerfield to return about midseason and then build his fitness in the back half of the campaign ahead of a possible finals tilt.
The eight-time All-Australian hurt his ankle late in the win over North Melbourne on Sunday and scans the following day showed the injury was worse than first expected.
Inspirational Geelong captain Joel Selwood returned in five weeks after the same syndesmosis surgery following Round 20 in 2017.
Selwood came back for the qualifying final and had 34 possessions and 10 tackles two weeks later in the preliminary final loss to Adelaide.
Respected sports medicine expert Dr Peter Larkins said Dangerfield "will be feeding off Joel Selwood's experience" to help quicken his own recovery time.
It is a huge blow to the Cats after an unconvincing and injury-marred start to the season. Dangerfield is still one of the most explosive and damaging midfielders in the AFL and a crucial goal kicker for Geelong.
The Cats also lost boom recruit Jeremy Cameron for the first five weeks of the season to a second hamstring problem.
While Cats' coach Chris Scott said Cameron would definitely take on West Coast Eagles on Saturday, the forward still has one more hurdles to jump to prove his fitness on Thursday and Friday.
Cameron's return would be a massive boost to the forward line but the Cats will be cautious not to risk a third hamstring blow before he is fully ready for a return to AFL.
Dangerfield's absence could open the door for speedster Jordan Clark to return to the team after he was made the medical sub but did not enter the field against the Kangaroos.
The eighth-placed Cats are under pressure to lift a gear against West Coast Eagles on Saturday at GMHBA Stadium after starting their season 3-2 with a percentage of 99.7.
In particular, it has been a tough start for Geelong's new medical and strength and conditioning department which was overhauled over summer to fit under the AFL's new football department soft cap.
They appointed former Adelaide and North Melbourne physio Steve Saunders as part of the significant changes.
Chris Scott's men have lost the seventh-most games (22) from their best 22 to injury over the first five rounds, according to Champion Data.
Fremantle and Essendon (34) have lost the most games to injury, while Sydney Swans (8) and Collingwood (5) have had the best run early this season.
If Cameron is picked, Saturday's clash will be the Coleman medallist's first senior appearance for the Cats in the regular season after parting with three high picks for Cameron and two second-round choices back in a deal with GWS.
The Cats are confident the key forward combination will deliver rich rewards for the club this season but there could be an adjustment phase as Cameron missed some training time with Hawkins over summer because of the hamstring trouble.
Dangerfield has been one of the league's most durable stars over his sparkling 271-game career, playing at least 19 games in each of the past 12 seasons.
He bravely played through a groin problem last year and had an interrupted pre-season, and was suspended for three matches for a high bump on Adelaide's Jake Kelly in Round 1.
Dangerfield initially said he thought his ankle problem was only a "minor tweak" and that he would play against the Eagles.
But scans have showed the injury was much worse than first thought.
DOG SIDELINED AFTER SURGERY BLOW
Ladder-leading Western Bulldogs have been dealt an injury blow with defender Bailey Williams to undergo surgery on a fractured collarbone, which is set to sideline him for up to four weeks.
Scans confirmed the Bulldogs' fears Williams had suffered a crack in his collarbone in the team's win over the Gold Coast Suns on Saturday at Marvel Stadium.
He was sent in for an operation on Monday to repair the injury and the Bulldogs said he was expected to miss between two-four weeks.
Williams was subbed out of the game at three-quarter time with the injury against the Suns, which continued the Bulldogs' unbeaten start to the season.
"In the third quarter, Bailey came to the bench after a heavy hit to his collarbone," Western Bulldogs head of sports medicine Chris Bell said.
"Scans have confirmed that he did fracture his collarbone and that required surgery today.
"In the next couple of days, we'll confirm his plan, but expect him to miss the next two-to-four weeks."
The 23-year-old, who recently signed a two-year contract extension, played every game for the Bulldogs last season and has become an important part of the club's defensive group.
Williams' fracture follows significant AC joint injuries this year to fellow defenders Hayden Crozier, who returned against the Suns, and Ryan Gardner, who remains sidelined.
The top-of-the-ladder Bulldogs face recent foes Greater Western Sydney at Manuka Oval on Friday night.
Lance Franklin will miss up to a month of football after injuring his knee in the Swans shock loss to the Giants on Saturday night
Franklin suffered bone bruising and has swelling and soreness around his right knee.
The incident happened in the third quarter when he was leading toward the ball and locked knees with Giants defender Connor Idun.
Franklin was limping, but played out the game and kicked another goal after the incident.
The 34-year-old had a calf issue that kept him out of Round 1.
Originally published as Massive blow for Danger as Cats make call