Luckless young Collingwood star Matthew Scharenberg has suffered another blow, with a second knee reconstruction likely to rule him out for the 2016 AFL season.
Scharenberg, 20, missed most of the 2015 campaign after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and will miss most, if not all, of next season as he goes through the same process with his right knee following an innocuous training mishap on Monday morning.
“This is obviously disappointing for everyone but foremost for Matthew,” Collingwood director of football Neil Balme said.
“(But) he is only 20. He has his career before him and he is made of the right stuff. He has the mental strength and dedication to overcome a difficulty like this.
“We will look after him with all the care we can offer to make the period before his return as smooth as possible.”
The Magpies have seen little return from their highly-touted 2013 draft class, with Scharenberg – the sixth overall pick – and Nathan Freeman (No.10) both cruelled by injuries. Stress fractures in Scharenberg’s feet sidelined him for the majority of 2014 and he underwent his first knee reconstruction after injuring himself in just his sixth VFL game.
He made his long-awaited AFL debut in round 18 last season and played four senior games but must be considered a long shot to take the field in 2016, with the Pies likely to take a cautious approach as he recovers from surgery scheduled for next week.
Freeman was unable to overcome chronic hamstring issues in two seasons with the club and didn’t manage an AFL game before switching to St Kilda in this year’s trade period. Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley took to Twitter to express his disappointment for Scharenberg, who signed a three-year extension with the club in September.
“Not many more dedicated and professional young men than Shaz,” Buckley tweeted.
“He’ll do everything to fulfil his dreams and ours. Feel for him right now.”