Knee injury slows Smith

March 5, 2019 5:00 pm in by
Zac Smith in action during Geelong's VFL loss to Sandringham in 2018. ( Berens)

GEELONG big man Zac Smith is facing up to a month on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury in the closed door practice match against North Melbourne last month.

Scans have confirmed damage to the 29-year-old’s medial collateral ligament.

“It’s set him back for four-to-six-weeks, but he’s progressing well in his rehab, and we remain positive that he’ll still figure strongly in the opening parts of the season,” Cats football boss Simon Lloyd said.

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“It was quite innocuous; someone fell across his knee.

“It was a positive diagnosis for us. We first thought it could be worse.

“He’s done an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in the past, but he was cleared of that almost immediately.

“He came off the ground and the knee swelled up, but he had scans, and he’s moving around freely and progressing well with his rehab.”

Smith will be hoping for a quick return as he looks to challenge for the No.1 ruck spot.

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He played just three games in 2018 and a back issue has caused some problems during pre-season, with Rhys Stanley, Ryan Abbott and draftee Darcy Fort getting a jump on the out-of-contract former Gold Coast player.

Meanwhile, Tom Hawkins will be right for Thursday night’s JLT Series clash with Essendon after being ruled out of the loss to West Coast in Perth with gastro.

“We did have Tom booked to come in on a later flight,” Lloyd said.

“But we made the decision with a four-hour trip each way and the short turnaround to rest him over the weekend and get him right for Thursday night.”

Lloyd has stopped short of putting a timeframe on the return of defender Zach Tuohy from off-season knee surgery.

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Tuohy, who has played 138 consecutive games, would likely need to play in Geelong’s VFL practice match against Werribee on March 15 to put his hand up for the Cats’ opening round clash with Collingwood on March 22.

“We’re judging him from session to session at the moment,” Lloyd said.

“So I don’t want to put it out there that he will be available or not available for Round 1.

“We’ll change that in coming weeks.”

An operation small forward Lachie Fogarty underwent last month to help relieve his ongoing groin issues appears to have been a success.

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Fogarty, who played 15 games in his debut season, underwent a procedure on his hip.

“He’s now starting to do things he was hindered by prior to having the operation,” Lloyd said.

“He’s doing a lot of bike work, and he’ll start to progress to running in the not too distant future.

“All early signs are very positive.”

Twitter: @tom_king79

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