Andrew Fifita is still hoping to play this week as he recovers from bone bruising in his knee. Initial expected return was sometime in the next 1-4 weeks. Fifita’s scans showed he has no PCL in his left knee, which explains why his knee gave way when changing direction. It also can explain why the initial thoughts of the medical staff was an ACL injury, as his knee joint was unstable. He will have to undergo a strengthening program due to the instability caused by an absent/torn PCL. Either Fifita had an old PCL injury (many players can play on without a PCL) or he tore his PCL during last week’s game. If Fifita has indeed been playing without a PCL for a while the 2-4 week estimate is where most return for mild bone bruising. If he actually tore his PCL in that game + bone bruising, more likely 4-8 weeks
Well reported that Matt Gillett visited a specialist last & it was discovered he has 3 fractures in the C5 vertebrae in his neck. Estimates of 8-12 weeks on the sideline. Many different types of vertebral fracture, good news majority heal well with no surgery, no long-term issues. Gillett suffered his initial neck injury in Rd1 at the end of the game vs Dragons. His chin appeared to get forced to the chest (hyperflexion/crusher). He left the field 1 minute after that tackle and missed a training session the following week with neck soreness. Factors that influence recovery time from cervical (neck) fracture include:
- the severity of the fracture
- which of the cervical vertebrae are fractured
- which part of the vertebrae is fractured – is there nerve/spinal cord injury (luckily this doesn’t appear to be the case).
Despite concern that comes with neck fractures, signs for Matt Gillett are positive. He doesn’t require surgery, no nerve/spinal cord injury, no collar required to stabilise fractures/help with healing, and is able to continue training over next 2 months with no contact. Indicates fractures are likely minor and stable, great news for the recovery.
Confirmation of a grade 2 MCL sprain for Paul Gallen. Has been estimated a 4-6 week recovery, which is where most fall in the NRL. Have seen some cases return in 3 weeks (Sam Burgess RLWC 2017), rehab would have to go perfectly
Nathan Brown is said to be out for 1 more week (return Rd 8) with an ankle injury (likely high ankle/syndesmosis sprain). Most grade 1 high ankle sprains fall in the 1-4 week recovery range
Confirmed hamstring injury for Cameron Murray, missed last week’s game. Still no word on severity just yet from the Rabbitohs. A reminder even minor hamstring strains usually require 2-4 weeks to recover from.
Wade Graham will miss the next 2-4 weeks with a hamstring strain. Likely grade 1 hamstring injury with that recovery timeframe.
Josh Mansour will undergo surgery for his fractured cheekbone once the swelling settles. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, but surgery often speeds up recovery. Josh Dugan missed 3 games in 2017 after surgery for the same injury.
Jai Arrow/Luke Lewis
Arrow suffered a corked back/Lewis a corked thigh on the weekend. Likely too early in the week to tell for certain if they will play, as corks are about seeing how it progresses during the week. Nikorima recently a perfect example. Word around is Arrow is expected to play though, Lewis may need a week off.
Sio Siua Taukeiaho
In some positive injury news, Sio Siua Taukeiaho will not require surgery on the cartilage injury in his knee. Will undergo rehab and should only require 1-2 weeks recovery.
Nathan Cleary is due to start running next week in his rehab from a grade 3 MCL injury. Is aiming for a return in Round 10-11, if rehab continues to go well that is very achievable. Have had some Q’s about goal kicking when he returns; the general rule is if he is fit to play kicking shouldn’t be an issue. Wouldn’t be surprised if Maloney just kept kicking though, such a capable replacement + take some pressure off Cleary returning
Solomone Kata is expected to miss up to a month with an ankle injury sustained on the weekend. Grade 1 high ankle sprains usually require 1-4 weeks recovery time
Gerard Beale is hoping to return for the New Zealand Warriors in 3 weeks time. Would be a 6-month return to play for him after suffering a fractured tibia and fibula (lower leg) in the RLWC late last year. Really tough rehab and will be good to see him back
Nathan Peats/Matt Lodge
Suffered what appeared to be a high-grade syndesmosis (high ankle) sprain on the weekend with potential fractures. The injury is still being assessed, likely long layoff upcoming
Morgan Boyle has been playing with a shoulder that requires reconstructive surgery. He dislocated his shoulder 4 weeks before Round 1 but opted to delay surgery until the end of the season. Went through a strengthening program, and hasn’t missed an NRL game yet. Super effort
Unfortunately, Waqa Blake does require surgery to repair his syndesmosis (high ankle) injury he suffered in Round 5. Will miss 8-10 weeks for the Penrith Panthers. Wish him the best with surgery and recovery.
If you have Foxtel, check out Andrew Voss’s show “The Fan” Tuesday’s at 7.30pm. I will be making an appearance every couple of weeks to talk through some common injuries that occur in the NRL. As always if you have any questions, throw a comment down below or hit me up on Twitter @nrlphysio or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nrlphysio/
The opinions given by the author of this article are given by a qualified physiotherapist, HOWEVER, they are based on the information available to the author at the time of publication; are general; and are not based on any formal physical assessment and/or diagnosis by the author. If you believe you may be suffering from an injury similar to one commented on by the author, do not rely on the author’s advice as it may not apply to you – see a qualified physiotherapist for a full assessment, diagnosis and treatment plan.