AFL 

Doubts linger over sore Heppell

Doubts linger over sore Heppell

ESSENDON coach John Worsfold is unsure when Dyson Heppell will be cleared to return to the Bombers’ AFL line-up as the skipper continues to struggle with a sore foot.

Heppell was a late withdrawal from the side that defeated Sydney at the MCG last week and appears a doubtful starter against North Melbourne on Saturday.

The 27-year-old was restricted to testing his sore left foot in light, short-range kicking drills on the sideline while his teammates were put through their paces in Wednesday’s main training session

In a concerning development, Worsfold revealed there is an element of doubt over how the issue will progress, with surgery a possibility down the track.

“It’s one of those things that you don’t know how it’s going to respond,” Worsfold said.

“He’s had it for a few weeks and it’s been pretty good, but we came off a couple of games at Marvel Stadium and Optus Stadium – grounds that are talked about as being a little bit harder – but hopefully he’ll be able to manage it all the way through.

“It’s a genetic thing. I won’t go into it too much because I don’t really understand it, but it’s basically something that he had in his other foot that he had fixed years ago.

“This one may or may not need some (surgical) intervention at some point or it may just be all right.”

Heppell has previously had a pin inserted in his right foot to stabilise an unfused growth plate.

Worsfold told reporters on Wednesday that defenders Michael Hurley (hip) and Cale Hooker (back) would both be fit to take on the resurgent Roos at Marvel Stadium.

© AAP 2019