GEELONG will be without explosive Cat Esava Ratugolea with ruck/forward set for a stint on the sidelines after he underwent ankle surgery today.
Ratugolea was nearing a return as he worked his way back from shoulder and ankle injuries when he injured his ankle on the training track late last week.
“After specialist consultation it has been decided that Esava will undergo an operation on his ankle to give him the best chance to play as soon as possible,” head of medical and conditioning services Harry Taylor said.
“Following surgery today, Esava will follow a reconditioning plan that we hope has him back training and playing relatively soon.”
Fellow ruck Rhys Stanley will be hoping to overcome his own ankle injury in time to face St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.
“Rhys is recovering well from his ankle injury and will be a test this week,” Taylor says.
Captain Joel Selwood and veteran Shaun Higgins will both need to prove their fitness before they’re considered for selection this weekend.
“Joel is recovering well from a significant cork and will be a test this week,” Taylor says.
“Shaun Higgins came out of the team with general soreness. He’ll be a test throughout the week as to his availability.”
Jed Bews won’t face the Saints after copping a heavy hit from Giant Jesse Hogan against GWS.
“Jed suffered a concussion in the game against GWS and will follow the AFL concussion guidelines,” Taylor says.
Endurance beast Sam Menegola has made positive headway after his comeback from knee surgery was interrupted by a bout of conucussion.
“Sam has made some significant gains as he gets close to a return,” Taylor says.
“He’ll progress back into the main training group this week, with the view to play in the near future.”
The club continues to monitor key defender Jack Henry as the medical and conditioning team waits for Henry to be pain free before ramping up his loads, despite his foot being structurally sound.
“Jack is progressing well in his reconditioning plan. He has increased his training loads and we hope to see Jack back out there soon,” Taylor says.
“He is an important and highly valued member of the playing group.”
Dashing youngster Max Holmes is on the recovery trail after successful surgery last week.
“Max had a successful operation on his ankle injury and will now follow a reconditioning plan that we hope will have Max back out in the hoops in the medium term,” Taylor says.
“Max has had a terrific start to the year and continues to bring great energy to the group, despite his recent injury.”
New Cat Jonathon Ceglar is closing in on reintegration into the football program.
“Jonathon is increasing his running as part of his plan,” Taylor says.
“He is reaching all physical metrics at this point in time, and we hope to see Jon transition to football specific drills in the coming weeks.”
Geelong’s VFL side has a bye this week, as first-year Cats Cooper Whyte (groin), Flynn Kroeger (hip), James Willis (knee) and Toby Conway (hip) work through their respective programs.
Whyte is a new addition to the injury list.
“Cooper is managing some groin pain that has limited his training capacity over the past few weeks,” Taylor says.
“Cooper will follow a plan that we hope will improve his physical capabilities and allow him to maximise his football strengths.
“We are looking forward to seeing Cooper back in the number 11 soon.”
Sam Simpson has taken positive steps in training drills as he returns from concussion.