Cyril Rioli’s latest hit from the hamstring sniper could be his worst yet.
The Hawthorn star’s AFL season could be over after scans showed the hamstring injury he suffered on Saturday against Gold Coast was much worse than first thought.
Rioli had hoped to return after the split 18th round in late July.
But he has hurt a tendon and will be sidelined for eight to 10 weeks.
That means, at best, Rioli will not return until the last round of the regular season.
It is the seventh hamstring injury in the 24-year-old’s 132-game career.
“Yep that sniper got me again,” Rioli posted on Twitter after Saturday’s win over the Suns in Launceston.
One advantage Rioli has is that Hawthorn will most likely make the top four and go deep into the finals.
The other positive is that the injury will not need surgery.
Rioli was sidelined for nine weeks last year with a hamstring injury – the longest spell of his career.
He also hurt a hamstring in round eight against Sydney and was back by round 12.
Given his appalling history of these injuries, the Hawks will take no risks with Rioli’s comeback.
But Hawks football operations manager Chris Fagan was also optimistic that Rioli’s season is not over.
“Unfortunately scans have indicated that Cyril has sustained a hamstring tendon injury, which is more serious than we first anticipated,” Fagan said in a club statement.
“While he is understandably disappointed to be missing some footy, he is eager to begin his rehab with the aim of making a valuable contribution to the side again this season.”
Rioli had been positive about the injury before receiving the bad news about the extent of the damage.
He said on the club website that it felt similar to the one he suffered in round eight.
While Rioli is not looking forward to another bout of rehabilitation, he is determined to return as soon as possible.
“The leg is feeling pretty sore after I iced it up – it seized up a bit,” he said.
“It’s probably a bit more time in the pool, which I’m not that excited about.
“But it’s a part of getting back into training.
“I will respect my injury and definitely look after it.”