Radical surgery Webster?s last hope
17th April 2008, 11:00 WST
The West Australian
Luke Webster?s AFL dream remains alive after the injury-plagued Fremantle utility player followed the lead of Sydney?s Nick Malceski and had radical knee surgery.
Webster could return to action within three months after having his left knee reconstructed with a synthetic ligament last week.
The Docker is out of contract at the end of the season and would have almost certainly been de-listed by Fremantle had he not taken this dramatic step to revive an AFL career that stagnated on 33 games, chiefly because of injuries. The operation was Webster?s fourth reconstruction, the third on his left knee.
?We?re optimistic about Luke?s future and very comfortable with the nature of the reconstruction,? Dockers football operations manager Robert Shaw said.
?It probably is a career-defining moment for Luke. The club?s doctor, Ken Withers, was delighted with the procedure so we?ll see in 10 to 12 weeks and not 10 to 12 months.
?Luke?s getting around on crutches at the moment and we?ll continue to monitor him closely.
?It was a decision he came to after speaking to family and the club?s medical staff and everyone is very comfortable with it.
?Luke was pretty keen not to go through the 12-month process again.?
Malceski and Sydney stunned the football world earlier this year when they decided on a procedure using polyester fibres to reconstruct the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee that was ruptured in a NAB Cup loss to Hawthorn.
Malceski, one of Sydney?s most important players because of the rebound he provides from half-back, is now up and running and believed to be a chance to return mid-season.
The normal rehabilitation time for a standard knee reconstruction is 12 months.
Shaw said Withers and Sydney?s doctor, Nathan Gibbs, had been in constant contact and discussed the best way forward post-surgery for Webster.
?We must thank Sydney for their cooperation over this whole issue,? Shaw said. ?Ken had talked to Sydney?s doctor about everything, they liaised very closely, and we feel that the synthetic procedure has been a success and, as a result, Luke is up and about around the club and looking forward to getting back into the fold.
?We weren?t sure whether it was viable because the knee had seen a bit of trauma, but it was able to be done.?
Webster last played for Fremantle in their round 10 loss to Collingwood last season.
Shaw said the club had not considered a similar procedure for Paul Hasleby, who tore an anterior cruciate ligament in the NAB Cup victory over West Coast.
It is understood Hasleby not only ruptured his ACL, but also tore his medial ligament and suffered extensive bone bruising.
I think I have to read this over and over again.