Sydney forward Lance Franklin kicked 18 goals in the first five round of the AFL season.Lance Franklin faces the prospect of multiple AFL games on the sidelines with an injured heel that’s ruled him out of this weekend’s clash with Geelong.
In a huge blow for the Sydney Swans, the star forward will miss Saturday’s game at Kardinia Park with coach John Longmire unable to put a time frame on his return.
Franklin has been quietly battling the injury for the past month but Longmire revealed on Tuesday he aggravated it during Friday’s 10-point home loss to Adelaide.
Dan Hannebery will also be sidelined, a strained groin ruling out the key midfielder in another big setback.
Longmire said Franklin sustained his injury against West Coast in round one and it would be “a reasonable conclusion” to assume the controversially hard surface at Optus Stadium played a part.
“We had probably the most amount of players cramp in that game as what we’ve had,” he said.
“(Franklin) hasn’t done any training of any substance since then.
“We’ve been trying to get him better week by week and hoping he’d get to a point where he was not only getting through games better but do some training.
“But the heel hasn’t responded and got worse on the weekend, so he won’t be playing this week and we’re not sure after that how it’ll respond.”
Longmire admitted Franklin’s absence could extend beyond the away game at the Cats and he now faces big decisions over his forward line.
“We’re not putting a time frame on it at the moment,” he said.
“Bruised heels are two things; they’re really painful and hard to get a guide on how long it takes to come back.”
AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking said he is confident Optus Stadium management will soon have the surface issue sorted.
There will be no training on the ground for three weeks as more rye grass is sowed.
“I’m not dismissing there’s some work to be done at Optus but they’re onto it and we’re comfortable with that,” Hocking said.
Sydney’s reliance on Franklin again came under the microscope over the weekend when an undermanned Crows sent them hurtling out of the top eight.
The 31-year-old was limited to one goal at the SCG despite having scored 17 in the first four rounds to lead the Coleman Medal race.
Hannebery was one cog in a highly-rated but poorly-performed midfield, with captain Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker also well below their best.
But Longmire rejected suggestions it might be time to give more youngsters a chance in the middle, pointing out that young players had already been getting good time in midfield.
Australian Associated Press