St Kilda captain Jack Steele will undergo surgery and could miss up to two months of football after injuring his shoulder against Geelong on Saturday evening.
Steele injured his AC joint in the second quarter of the Saints’ impressive 10-point victory against the Cats, but played out the game.
Scans on Sunday revealed the full extent of Steele’s injury and he is now expected to be out of action for 6-8 weeks.
Jack Steele will undergo surgery after injuring his shoulder.Credit:Getty Images
St Kilda head of football David Rath said Steele could have continued to play with the injury, but the club decided on surgery to prepare for the second half of the season.
“He’s a warrior and would continue to play if required, but we need to do what’s right for Jack long-term,” Rath said.
After the match, St Kilda coach Brett Ratten said Steele was “courageous” to play on with the injury and suggested the midfielder had been influenced by tough former St Kilda captain Jarryn Geary.
“I think a bit of ‘Gears’ is rubbing off on him because he just willed himself to get out there and compete and just make contests. It helped us with the rotations,” Ratten said.
“He sort of finds a way, Jack. He just wills himself.”
The Saints will also be without lively forward Jack Higgins next week as they aim to continue their good form against Adelaide, after the former Tiger was subbed out of their win against Geelong with concussion.
Higgins – who underwent brain surgery in 2020 – will continue to be monitored throughout the week after he was initially concussed by a spoil from Geelong defender Tom Stewart in the first quarter.
Higgins returned to the game before being bumped by Cats defender Kade Kolodjashnij and was then assessed by team doctors in the second term.
Post-match, Ratten said he would let the doctors decide if any further precautions would be taken for Higgins, but said it “seems like a normal standard concussion – just a knock”.
Meanwhile, the Tigers are likely to lose swingman Noah Balta next week after the key defender injured his hamstring in the third quarter of Richmond’s 23-point victory against Hawthorn on Saturday.
Noah Balta talking to doctors after hurting his hamstring.Credit:AFL Photos
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said post-match that he expected to lose Balta for next round’s Dreamtime match against Essendon, with debutant Bigola Nyuon expected to hold his spot.
“I’d say he’ll play with Noah [Balta] going out next week as well. So he’ll continue to grow and learn,” Hardwick said.
Balta will have scans before Tuesday, with the extent of his hamstring injury still unclear.
Hawthorn forward Jack Gunston is also in doubt to play next weekend against the Brisbane Lions after he injured his ankle early in Saturday’s match against the Tigers.
Gunston landed awkwardly on his right ankle in the first quarter and was substituted in the second term after attempting to return to the game.
Meanwhile, Essendon coach Ben Rutten said midfielder Jye Caldwell’s shoulder injury will be assessed early this week after he hurt his AC joint in a courageous collision with Swans defender Tom McCartin.
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