The long wait to see Gold Coast midfielder Jaeger O’Meara back in the AFL looks set to stretch into 2017.
O’Meara hasn’t played a senior game since the final round of the 2014 season after rupturing a patella tendon during a pre-season reserves match in March last year.
He made a successful comeback in the reserves in July but hasn’t played for the past three weeks due to soreness in the same knee.
Suns coach Rodney Eade said if the 2013 AFL rising star is unable to shake off his injury by next week, it looks like he’ll be mothballed for the rest of the 2016 campaign.
“Jaeger still wants to push forward at this stage,” Eade said.
“If he can’t play next week, you’d probably think it’s unlikely he’ll play the rest of the year.
“Hopefully he can be on the track next week and that gives him a chance to play.”
O’Meara is off-contract at the Suns and there is growing speculation several Melbourne-based clubs such as Carlton and Richmond are poised to lure the West Australian product south.
Eade admits it’s tough to know at this stage just how completely O’Meara will be able to recover from his injury problems.
“Other players come back from big injuries and it’s not so much that injury, it’s whether their other muscles can cope,” he said.
“I don’t think you can ever be certain, but what we’ve seen football-wise – against lower teams – he looked okay the way he moved.
“It’s a matter of his body being able to sustain that.”
One positive for the Suns is the progress of midfielder David Swallow.
A knee injury has kept him sidelined throughout 2016 but Eade says he’s a chance of returning to action in the reserves next week.
“We just feel he needs another week of competitive stuff, tackling and change of direction under pressure,” Eade said.
“If he gets through that next week, he’ll be fine.”