Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge believes Bob Murphy can make a successful return to the AFL, even if the veteran defender is ruled out for the remainder of the season.
Orthopaedic surgeon David Young will examine Murphy’s left knee on Monday after the Bulldogs great sustained considerable damage to his anterior cruciate ligament during the final minute of Sunday’s three-point loss to Hawthorn.
Regardless of the prognosis, Beveridge does not think he has seen the last of the 33-year-old captain in Bulldogs’ colours.
“I’m hopeful that once it all settles and if it does confirm the worst after lunchtime, that Bob still has a bright future as a player and captain of our football club,” Beveridge said.
Murphy is also likely to discuss ligament augmentation reconstruction system (LARS) surgery with Young to try and shorten his layoff.
It is the same surgery which saw Sydney-turned-Gold-Coast defender Nick Malceski return just 11 weeks after the operation in 2011, and now it could help save Murphy’s career.
“Bob will seek his advice,” Beveridge said.
“At the start of players’ careers, our preference has always been to have the (traditional) surgery that he does so well.
“We’ll consider all the possibilities and do everything we can for Bob’s wellbeing more than anything.”
Retired Bulldogs great Brad Johnson urged the club to remember the painful lessons of Chris Grant’s season-defining injury in 2003.
Grant, who was also captain at the time, suffered a torn ACL in the first game of the season as the Dogs ultimately went on to collect the wooden spoon.
“It just flattened the group,” Johnson told RSN radio on Monday.
“We didn’t really recover for the remainder of that year.
“I think the club as a whole will learn from that.
“Granty is still involved at the Bulldogs and he’ll certainly remind people you can’t let these things affect you as a playing group.”