Rance’s finals comeback bid out of his hands

Alex Rance's bid for a remarkable September comeback will be aided by new surgical techniques that fast-track recoveries from ACL ruptures.

Rance posted footage of himself running on Punt Rd in his rehabilitation, with the five-time All-Australian making amazing progress four months after Round 1 surgery.

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Richmond will take a decision on Alex Rance's remarkable comeback out of his hands given his desperation to push for a stunning return this year.

But leading sports medico Rohan White says advances in knee reconstruction technology give players a realistic chance to return six months-post surgery.

The club continues to talk down an AFL return given the risk but he could conceivably play in a VFL final in six weeks time then be ready for week one of the finals.

The Tigers will leave the decision in the hands of his surgeon Julian Feller, aware their surging form and Rance's brilliance makes it almost impossible for the coaches to decide.

Rance would need to progress from straight-line running to game simulation and football touch, potentially playing VFL in the week before the first week of the AFL finals on September 5-8.

He is aided by an ACL tear that contained no other damage to his knee and remarkable recovery powers that have seen him back running for several weeks.

The Tigers are pushing hard for a top-four position and take on Collingwood in a blockbuster on Friday night, with Toby Nankervis likely to return after a VFL hitout.

 

 

 

He was excellent in a half in the VFL over the weekend, with Marlion Pickett's VFL debut likely to be put back by a family tragedy that has seen him return to Perth.

Richmond boss Brendon Gale said on the weekend Rance is "way beyond where he should be. He thinks he is a chance to play this year and so he should."

Former St Kilda doctor White told the Herald Sun across football six-month recoveries were becoming more commonplace.

"There are different kinds of ACLs. What often delays the return to footy is not just the ACL rupture but all the other ligament and bone damage.

"If you get a bad one it is 12 months but if it's an isolated ACL tear and the surgery has gone really well and there is no other damage, we are seeing guys come back faster and with new types of ACL reconstructions they are tightening the joint at the same time.

With newer techniques used by surgeons like the world class orthopaedic surgeons in Melbourne and Julian Feller, who is Alex's surgeon, it's not inconceivable to see guys coming back in 6-9 months.

"A surgeon would scan the cartilage to make sure there is no issue and to ensure the graft itself is maturing and also a surgeon with an enormous amount of experience would test the stability of the joint and the strength of his leg."

Richmond's thriving VFL team will also give him a chance to play VFL deep into September.

Rance has two more seasons on his AFL contract with the Tigers but if he did tear his ACL again he would be back late in the 2020 season but in time for finals.

News Corp Australia


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