ESSENDON is continuing their wait and see approach on Dyson Heppell, with the Bombers hopeful their AFL skipper will overcome foot soreness to play against the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium.
Heppell has missed four of the past five games with the issue, but coach John Worsfold says the club hasn’t reached the point where season-ending surgery is required.
“He’s the same as last week … nothing is really changing with Dyson other than, with every game he misses, his foot feels better,” Worsfold told reporters on Wednesday.
“But we’ll make an assessment whether he’s up for playing this week.
“Our focus is on getting him right to play more footy throughout the year.
“If it gets to that point, and I don’t know as I’m not an expert, but when it gets to a point where we think it’s going to recover at all and he’s going to miss too many weeks before he’s available to go again, then we’ll make a decision (on surgery).
“But at the moment, we’re working towards seeing if he’s available for this week.”
Heppell has previously had a pin inserted in his right foot to stabilise an unfused growth plate and will likely require the same procedure on his left.
He was a limited participant in Wednesday’s training session ahead of Saturday night’s clash, leaving the ground after the warm-up.
The Bombers will be without Adam Saad and Matt Guelfi for the pivotal encounter with the Bulldogs, who are just one game outside the eight.
Saad will miss one or two matches after suffering a hamstring injury in last week’s loss to Port Adelaide, while Guelfi’s season is over after injuring a knee at training.
Darcy Parish (concussion) and Aaron Francis (whiplash) were also injured in that game, with Shaun McKernan (illness) a late withdrawal. They all are a chance to play this week.
Joe Daniher, on Essendon’s lengthy injury list since season-ending groin surgery after round nine, made headlines this week when he was spotted meeting Sydney chief executive Tom Harley.
Worsfold said there was nothing untoward in the catch-up between old friends.
“(It was) coffee) with a mate … that’s what he told us (so) I’m more than comfortable that Joe is mature enough to make those decisions,” the coach said.
“The fact that it’s public is not an issue for us. It’s like ‘Everyone just get on with living your life and we’ll be cruisy’.”
© AAP 2019