Essendon’s horror run of off-season injuries continues, with No.1 ruckman Tom Bellchambers having knee surgery last week, as reported by AFL.com.au’s Mitch Cleary.
The big man is expected to be sidelined from running for the next fortnight.
With the 30-year old completing most of the pre-season to date, Essendon is hoping that this will not greatly impact his preparations for 2020.
This injury could not have come at a worse time for the Bombers with captain Dyson Heppell and key players Cale Hooker and Mitch Hibberd currently part of their rehab group, while star forward Joe Daniher will again face another lengthy stint on the sidelines with a groin injury.
This leaves the door open for off-season recruit Andrew Phillips to make his case for round 1 selection against Fremantle on March 20th. Phillips was recruited from Carlton in the off-season on a one-year deal, with the 28-year old seeking more opportunities.
After impressing the coaching staff this pre-season, Phillips will lead the Bombers depleted ruck stocks in their pre-season hitouts against Melbourne on February 21st, West Coast on February 27th and Geelong on March 9th.
Promising ruckman Sam Draper will return to full training in the coming weeks after suffering from a ruptured ACL last May.
With draftee Lachie Johnson still on the injury list with an ACL tear, Essendon has flown in East Fremantle ruckman Brynn Teakle to join Nigel Lockyer and Nathan Ireland in training with the club as the Bombers weigh up the option to add a replacement player in the pre-season supplemental period.