LEITCHVILLE-GUNBOWER has been dealt a massive blow ahead of Saturday week’s grand final, with ruckman Michael Pilcher ruled out of the contest.
Pilcher was hospitalised on Sunday night after his corked thigh quickly became more serious, sent to Melbourne for emergency surgery.
He took the knock in the first half of the Bombers’ 10-point semi-final win against North Bendigo, seemingly a minor complaint as he stayed with the side post-game.
But things escalated a day later, when the pain and swelling wouldn’t subside.
‘‘He did everything right on Saturday night, but late on Sunday it kept swelling and there was a bit more pain so he got it checked out,’’ Hawken said.
‘‘He ended up getting sent down to Melbourne for emergency surgery for compartment syndrome.
‘‘It’s pretty serious, he’s got a large cut from his hip to his knee where they’re trying to drain that out. He’ll spend a week or so in hospital.’’
Compartment syndrome sees high pressure around the impacted part of the body affect blood flow, requiring surgery to release the pressure.
Hawken said Pilcher had taken every precaution after the game to recover, icing his thigh every two hours overnight to try and ease the swelling.
The ruckman, who came to the club this season from Strathfieldsaye, will remain in hospital in Melbourne until the middle of next week.
‘‘He’s down there in good spirits and he’ll have to find something to do to pass the time,’’ Hawken said.
‘‘It’s tough, he’s a builder and it cuts into his work, as well as a disappointment because he was a huge part of our campaign. It’s a shock to all of us; the boys are resilient and someone else will get an opportunity, but we’re really disappointed.
‘‘He’s our assistant coach, and a really good on-field leader, an area we were actively targeting when we recruited him.
‘‘He’s got good leadership and he’s a much respected and liked member of our club. We’re just hoping he gets healthy quickly.’’
Pilcher joins Jack Dye on the injury list for the September 9 decider, the key forward breaking his collarbone in the semi-final and almost certainly to miss.
‘‘There’s always a glimmer, but the chance would be something like 0.1 per cent, very, very minimal,’’ Hawken said