LIAM Shiels will miss Saturday night’s match against Geelong, but the Hawks could regain up to four players for the blockbuster at the MCG.
The Hawthorn midfielder injured his ankle in the third quarter of Sunday’s win over Birsbane, when his leg was caught under opponent, Jack Redden.
Shiels grimaced in pain as he hit the Aurora Stadium turf and immediately grabbed for his right ankle before limping from the field.
He returned to the field soon after and played out the game, but unfortunately for the Hawks will miss at least the next two matches.
Head of Coaching and Development, Chris Fagan said his stint on the sidelines could even extend to a month depending on how his rehabilitation progresses.
The Club remains hopeful though, he won’t be missing for an extended period.
“It’ll be at least two weeks and possibly four, it all depends on how his rehab goes, it’s one of those types of injuries,” he told hawthornfc.com.au.
“The good part is that ‘Shielsy’ is a quick healer so hopefully he’ll be back sooner rather than later.”
It is a blow for the Hawks given Shiels has become its number one run-with player with the ability to be a free-wheeling midfielder in his own right.
Hawthorn will be bolstered though by the return of three key players who have all been declared fit on Tuesday.
Paul Puopolo (quad), Max Bailey (knee soreness) and Brent Guerra (back) are available for selection for Saturday night’s blockbuster.
Bailey and Guerra missed Sunday’s win over the Lions while Puopolo was a very late withdrawal against West Coast in Round 13.
“All trained well this morning and all will be available for selection,” Fagan said.
The availability of the quartet creates a selection headache for the Hawks, who could make up to four changes for Saturday night’s clash against the Cats.
Livewire forward Cyril Rioli is ready to return, but whether it’s at VFL or AFL level remains to be seen.
One player who won’t be there is Xavier Ellis, who strained his calf against the Lions and was subbed out of the game in the second quarter.
“We’ve got some good and big decisions to make going into this game at the weekend against the Cats,” Fagan said.
“He (Ellis) strained his calf. It’s an injury that will take a little while to mend so we’ll obviously give the soft tissue a little time to repair and there’ll be a conditioning block to follow that.
“At this stage, we’re probably not quite sure how long it’ll be because we want to make sure that he’s really fit to play when he returns.”