It was a feel-good day for Essendon supporters, but not without an audible gasp from the crowd when one of the club’s marquee players limped on stage in a moon boot.
On the day designed to galvanise the club and its fans after a torrid off-season, the sight of Michael Hurley in a heavy brace wasn’t a sight to warm the hearts of the red-and-black army.
But images can be deceiving. The moon boot was strictly a precaution as the Bombers leave nothing to chance with their key forward ahead of the season-opener against Adelaide at AAMI Stadium on Friday week.
”It’s a lot more precautionary than probably what you can see from the outside,” said teammate Brent Stanton.
”He’s done extensive rehab over the last couple of days, but he’s reassured us that it’s just a general rolled ankle and he’s going to be right to go against Adelaide.
”He’s confident, so is the doctor and so are the coaches.”
Hurley limped off Manuka Oval in the final quarter of last Friday’s NAB Cup win over Greater Western Sydney, but returned to the field shortly after receiving treatment.
But the looks of concern on the faces of Essendon supporters on Monday was another reminder of how valuable they consider an injury-free Hurley to be to their team’s hopes.
The club also made it clear last year how important Hurley was to the future by locking the 22-year-old away in a five-year deal worth about $3million.
Meanwhile, Essendon’s 2011 best and fairest, David Zaharakis, is close to full fitness.
Zaharakis, who missed 10 games with a quad injury in 2012, suffered a repeat of the injury in late January, but is likely to have his first hitout in a VFL practice match against Bendigo this weekend.
”David is really excited … it will be great to have him back out there,” Stanton said.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.