Injured Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett says criticism surrounding his ongoing absence from the team is misinformed and inaccurate.
Ablett, whose season has been restricted by a serious shoulder injury stemming from last year, said on Wednesday he hoped to return after the Suns’ bye week in round 12.
But the dual Brownlow Medallist insisted that critics such as Jonathan Brown, who this week slammed Ablett for letting down his teammates by not playing through the pain barrier, didn’t know the full story behind his injury.
“I’m doing everything I possibly can to get myself right, outside of taking painkillers and jabbing it up to play,” Ablett said.
“If it was simple as just pain I’d be out there.
“There are some complications which I won’t go into detail.
“I sit down with the doctors, catch up every week, we do tests on the shoulders, they give me their advice on whether they think I might be able to progress my training, and I make decisions around that.
“I really want to be out there with my teammates but I think it’d be selfish of me to go out and play the way my shoulder is at the moment.”
Brown told Fox Footy’s On The Couch earlier this week that it was time for Ablett to accept that part of being a leader was playing with injuries, believing he was cleared to play because he started the season.
Ablett initially suffered the injury in the back half of last season and was still obviously hampered when he played in Gold Coast’s first two games this year – a decision he says in retrospect was the wrong one.
However, Ablett revealed he had scar tissue removed from his shoulder six weeks out from round one, and also had an allergic reaction to a suture anchor which also disrupted his preparation.
“We’re in an industry where people want to have their opinions on things and that’s fine,” Ablett said.
“But when those things aren’t backed by fact, that’s when it’s a little bit disappointing.”
Ablett has an aversion to painkillers but is currently taking anti-inflammatory medication, and said it was incorrect to suggest he has never played through pain before.
Coach Rodney Eade said there has been an “unfair” edge to the focus on Ablett’s injury status and his leadership.
“He’s very visible. People outside Queensland are saying he’s not visible – but he’s here all the time, around the group all the time,” he said.
“As a leader, he’s been terrific.
“He’s taken feedback from players, given feedback, and that’s what we’re trying to create here, where everyone has a sense of ownership.
“I thought his leadership was terrific before that but he’s really taken it to another level.”