Magpies duo set to miss NAB Cup

17 January 2013 20:42:58 GMTPlus10

Midfielders Dale Thomas and Luke Ball can still make round one of the AFL, says Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley.

But the duo are unlikely to feature in the NAB Cup campaign as they battle back from injuries.

Ball was sidelined for most of the 2012 season with a serious knee injury, and Buckley says he is "unlikely" to be involved in the pre-season competition.

The 28-year-old, who played 142 games with St Kilda before joining the Magpies ahead of the 2010 season, sustained his injury in the round 3 clash with Carlton.

He was injured in the first quarter, and though medical staff strapped his knee and allowed him to return to the field he re-injured himself and was diagnosed with a rupture of his anterior cruciate ligament.

Thomas, recovering from ankle surgery, is still up to three weeks away from resuming full training.

"He's progressing fairly well," coach Nathan Buckley said. "

He's [Thomas] getting a lot of touch inside. We've been able to work specifically on his strength - he is definitely sick of the bike.

Nathan Buckley

He's getting a lot of touch inside. We've been able to work specifically on his strength - he is definitely sick of the bike."So he's pretty keen to progress and get load-bearing as soon as possible. We will get him out on the track in three weeks' time."

Buckley admitted he could not say for certain whether Thomas would be ready for the club's round one clash against North Melbourne on 31st March.

"Round one is 10 weeks away, there's a lot of water to go under the bridge," he said.

Meanwhile, Fremantle are to send midfielder Anthony Morabito for LARS surgery on his left knee. The 21-year-old has missed the past two seasons due to repeated anterior cruciate ligament injuries, and suffered yet another setback last week when he injured himself during pre-season training.

Fremantle's general manager of football operations Chris Bond says Morabito will undergo the alternative LARS procedure to try and save his career.

"Anthony really just needed some time and space to weigh up his surgery options," Bond said. "After discussions with people close to him, the football club and medical experts, Anthony has decided that this surgery will give him the best chance to resume his playing career."

Collingwood are 5000/1 to win the Grand Final. Hawthorn are 31/50 premiership favourites.

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