May 19, 2024

Jack Darling avoids surgery on injured ankle but faces race against time for West Coast Eagles’ season opener

West Coast is banking on key forward Jack Darling’s recuperative powers to overcome an ankle injury in time for the Eagles round one clash with North Melbourne on March 18.

The Eagles were relieved on Tuesday when scans revealed Darling had avoided surgery on the damaged ankle.

“He will be touch and go for round one but knowing the way he is I think he might be OK,” Simpson said.

“No surgery. Just an ankle. And we’ll see how he recovers over the next couple of weeks.”

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But the news was tempered when another forward prospect Jack Williams was sent to hospital after taking a heavy knock on the ribs at pre-season practice yesterday.

The Eagles are hopeful he has avoided cracked ribs or a punctured lung.

“He has gone off to hospital as a precaution with his lung. It might have deflated a tiny bit. We didn’t want to take any risks. Hopefully it’s not as serious as it sounds,” Simpson said.

Simpson said the Eagles “feared for the worst” when Darling injured his ankle last Friday but had some “pretty good news, I don’t think it is too severe”.

“It just took us a bit of time to get to where we needed to with some scans and extra scans and we will take it pretty easy with him but hopefully we have dodged a bullet,” he said.

“We have had a couple of these. This time last year we had Dom (Sheed) and Campbell Chesser at the same time, Oscar Allen, and none of those guys played.

“The bruising we got from last year, those fleeting thoughts come into your mind, but we have to stay resilient, injuries are going to happen.

“We had our share last year and hopefully we get a better run at it, which we have.

“When you get one of those, you do worry a little bit.”

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