Carlton superstar Chris Judd is adamant lack of luck rather than fitness was responsible for his hamstring injury suffered in what’s become a costly first AFL win of the season for his club.
Making a delayed start to the AFL season due to achilles surgery, Judd lasted six minutes in his return on Sunday before limping off Etihad Stadium and scans on Monday confirmed the dual Brownlow medallist will be sidelined for another five weeks.
That’s one week less than what Ed Curnow is facing after suffering a fractured fibula in his right leg when he hit the behind post late in the 28-point win over the Western Bulldogs.
Their teammate Tom Bell is also expected to be out for 3-4 weeks, requiring surgery for a finger fracture sustained in a tackling contest.
Judd, who played as the substitute, was relatively upbeat about the injury, sustained when he was pushed by Bulldogs forward Stewart Crameri while attempting to kick the ball on the run.
“It’s not too bad,” Judd said on Monday.
“I’ve obviously done a couple before and they’re never pleasant, but it doesn’t feel like it’s the worst one I’ve done.”
Judd’s focus on fitness rather than football at training has left the 30-year-old bereft of match practice, but he dismissed the notion he wasn’t ready to return.
“I’d done a heap of running and a heap of leg strength work, so there was no issue with conditioning,” he said.
“Sometimes in footy you get put in positions the human body can’t tolerate – that’s just bad luck.
“It wouldn’t have mattered if I’d trained for 50 weeks or six weeks.
“You look at the GPS data, and that speed that I was pushed at was twice as quick as anyone else moved for the night.
“So it was just pretty simple mathematics. Your hammies can’t tolerate that and there was a bit of a pop.”
Judd was doing his best to stay positive, despite a further setback that is likely to result in him missing the first half of the 2014 season.
“It’s not the end of the world. I’ll be back and it was great the team had such a great win,” he said.
General manager of football Andrew McKay reiterated coach Mick Malthouse’s post-match declaration that Judd was fit and defended the club’s decision to use him as the substitute.
“Given that he hadn’t had any game time this year, we thought the sub would be perfect for him,” McKay told radio station SEN.
“It was just one of those freak things.”