Both Essendon and Adelaide’s push for a finals berth took a big hit on Monday with key players suffering significant injuries including a season ending ACL for a Crows defender.
Nick Murray will miss the rest of the 2023 season and a big chunk of 2024 after rupturing the ACL in his left knee in Sunday’s loss to Melbourne at the MCG.
The Crows slipped more than a game outside the top eight after the defeat made worse by a hamstring injury to electric forward Izak Rankine who will miss at least four matches.
“While it’s disappointing to lose Izak, fortunately there was little to no tendon involvement so he will begin his rehab process and we anticipate that being 3-4 weeks before he returns to play,” Crows High Performance Manager Darren Burgess said.
“Izak has had hamstring injuries in the past so he knows what is required with his rehabilitation and will work closely with our medical team to get back.”
The Bombers, who have fallen outside the top eight after back-to-back losses, will be without best and fairest winning defender Jordan Ridley potentially for the rest of the season with a quad injury he suffered against the Western Bulldogs.
“It‘s disappointing for Rids who has been one of our most consistent players this season,” Essendon performance manager Dan McPherson said.
“We‘ll get a more accurate sense of his potential return-to-play timeline in the next week or so, but at this early stage we believe he is unlikely to play before the last round of the home-and-away season.”
Essendon has winnable games to come against Sydney, West Coast, North Melbourne and GWS, before a final round showdown with premiership favourites Collingwood to make it to the finals.
The Bulldogs meanwhile will get stronger in their pursuit of a top-four finish Norm Smith medallist Jason Johannisen set to return from a serious hamstring injury against GWS this Saturday.
Johannisen has missed the past eight games after suffering a high-grade hamstring strain with tendon damage and has undergone a rehabilitation program inside the Whitten Oval across the past two months.
“Being a high-speed athlete, we have taken our time with him to make sure that the damage in his hamstring has fully recovered,” Head of Sports Medicine, Chris Bell said.
“Jason has progressed well over the last month and has built some great continuity in his training.
“If he ticks his final boxes this week – and pulls up well from our main training – JJ will return to availability.”