Essendon lose Paddy Ryder with calf injury

Even if the Kleenex factory flooded, Essendon could still lay claim to having more problems with soft tissue.

The latest in a spate of such injuries to the Bombers could sideline ruckman Paddy Ryder for more than a month as Essendon’s tilt at a AFL top-four spot became much harder.

Ryder injured a calf at training on Wednesday, ruling him out of the Bombers’ away clash with Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium on Saturday.

He is also certain to miss the games following against Geelong and Hawthorn, and perhaps Adelaide if the injury is worse than the Bombers’ optimistic best-case scenario of three weeks on the sidelines.

“This is disappointing for Paddy. He’s been such a consistent performer for us this season, both in his role up forward and in the ruck,” Bombers football operations manager Paul Hamilton said.

“We’re confident Paddy will work hard during his rehabilitation and we look forward to seeing him back out on the park as soon as possible.”

Essendon have had 11 players sidelined with soft tissue injuries this season, with key forward Michael Hurley breaking down for a second time last weekend with a hamstring problem.

But the Bombers have Tom Bellchambers as a solid replacement for Ryder, and a good news story in forgotten forward Scott Gumbleton returning from a long injury-enforced AFL hiatus.

Gumbleton has not played an AFL match since late 2010, before being hit with a succession of injuries.

Collingwood have named midfield star Scott Pendlebury to return from injury in the grand final rematch against Geelong at the MCG on Saturday night.

The silky onballer has missed four matches with a fractured bone in his leg sustained against the Gold Coast Suns in round 10.

Magpies defenders Chris Tarrant and Nathan Brown have also been named to play against the Cats.

The trio replace suspended Sharrod Wellingham, youngster Marley Williams who will miss the rest of the season after shoulder surgery, and omitted forward Jackson Paine.

The Cats have recalled Steve Johnson from injury and defender Harry Taylor, who missed last weekend’s win over Gold Coast awaiting his daughter’s birth.

Richmond have included defender Kelvin Moore for his first AFL match since late 2010 after his fightback from a career-threatening hip injury.

He is set to play against Gold Coast in Cairns on Saturday.

The Suns regain exciting midfielder David Swallow after two months out with a knee injury.

Melbourne have lost defender Jack Watts with an ankle injury for their clash with Fremantle at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
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