North Melbourne star Nick Dal Santo is confident he can still play a big part in the Kangaroos’ AFL season despite going in for surgery on Thursday.
Dal Santo damaged his left hamstring, where the muscle meets the tendon, during North’s big win over Brisbane at Etihad Stadium on Sunday and was surprised to learn surgery was even a possibility.
But after consultation with specialists earlier this week, Dal Santo said he was comfortable with the conservative approach that would mean he missed up to 12 weeks of football.
“Apparently, it’s a simple operation – it’s not at the worst end of the spectrum with regards to hamstrings,” Dal Santo said shortly before he was admitted to Epworth Hospital.
“It’s my first one and I’m 31. Whether age had something to do with it, I’m not sure, but I’m in a positive frame of mind.
“I feel like I can get back for the second half of the year and hopefully have some sort of an impact.”
The alternative to surgery – a period of rest and natural healing – was considered too unpredictable.
Dal Santo admitted to feeling a bit tight in the week leading up to Sunday’s game – something he said was common at his age – but added he had no regrets about playing.
He was pain-free in the days after suffering what he thought to have been a relatively minor injury and said he was still trying to come to grips with the thought of missing so much football.
The former Saint has been exceedingly durable over the course of his 14-year, 287-game career with this setback ending a run of 104 consecutive matches.
“It’s obviously really disappointing but, on the other hand, I’ve been really fortunate – at some point, it had to happen,” he said.
“I realise that I’ve been lucky.”