Three Bombers have suffered setbacks ahead of the 2020 season, with experienced Dons Cale Hooker and David Zaharakis and young forward Noah Gown set for stints on the sidelines.

Club head of medical services David Rundle said Hooker has been unable to recover from post-season hip soreness as expected. 

“Cale finished the season with some hip pain. We felt that with an extended period of rest over the off-season, this pain would go,” Rundle said on Thursday. 

“But unfortunately, after a few weeks of running, the hip pain was still there and probably getting a bit worse. 

“We sought specialist opinion and he underwent an arthroscopy yesterday – a relatively minor procedure – and we should see him back up and running in the new year.” 

02:35 Mins
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BTV: Pre-season | Injury Update - December 12

Head of Medical Services David Rundle provides an update on our injured players.

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While Zaharakis’ recovery from ankle surgery had been strong, a knee concern will force the midfielder to undergo surgery on Thursday.

“David had ankle surgery in the off-season, he was rehabilitating really well following that and his ankle was feeling great," Rundle said.

“Unfortunately, after a couple of weeks of running, his right knee had some swelling and clicking in it and he was found to have a small meniscus tear. He’s undergoing an arthroscopy today.” 

Gown impressed at VFL level throughout his debut season in the red and black this year before it was derailed by a stress fracture in his foot.

His rehabilitation had been tracking well before an incident on the track this week saw the injury rear its head.

“Noah had a stress fracture late in the season and he had surgery on his foot,” Rundle said.

“He had a really good rehab period through the off-season and integrated well into training with the boys in the pre-season. 

“Unfortunately, earlier in the week he pivoted on his foot and felt pain and a crack. He’s re-fractured the bone in his foot and will see a specialist tomorrow.”

Attacking duo Joe Daniher and James Stewart have worked together in recent months to overcome ongoing groin injuries and Rundle said an overseas trip in the off-season has proven beneficial for the pair. 

“They’ve come back with a really good mindset and are working really hard on their rehab, working in tandem together. 

“We sent them over to Ireland with Nick Kane, one of our physios, to have an intensive week of training with a groin rehabilitation specialist.

“They’ve come back and are continuing that good work now.” 

While disappointed about the setbacks this week, Rundle said he is pleased with the overall condition of the group heading into the squad’s break at the end of next week. 

“The bulk of the playing group are in really good shape and working really hard.

“We’ve got a few players in rehab at the moment, but we expect the bulk of those to reintegrate back with the group early in the new year.”