St Kilda coach Alan Richardson is confident Nick Riewoldt will not be sidelined by the frightening collision that saw him hospitalised on Sunday.
GWS on-baller Tom Bugg cannoned into Riewoldt’s back in a hotly-contested last quarter at Etihad Stadium, with play stopped for several minutes while he received treatment.
The Saints skipper left the field under his own steam and was later diagnosed with a case of whiplash after undergoing scans.
“At this stage we’re really, really confident – as confident as you can be when someone goes to hospital to get scans – that he’ll be right to go this week,” Richardson said, after his side fell to a nine-point defeat.
The coach reserved his judgement on whether the incident, that occurred close to a marking contest, was worthy of condemnation.
“The player will know what his intention was,” he said.
“If he intended to run into the back of someone who wasn’t braced for the contact then it was poor.
“But if it was just a collision and they stumbled across each other then that’s footy, I suppose.
Riewoldt was playing the first match since his sister tragically passed away in February, with Richardson full of praise for the skipper’s courage and resilience.
“It was an incredible performance when you take everything into account really,” he said.
“It’s such a personal thing. Everyone handles things differently. They’re an incredibly close family – there’s no doubt it was tough for him.”