A devastating shoulder injury on Saturday put big question marks over All Black Brodie Retallick’s potential to play in the Rugby World Cup.
But following scans which confirmed no fracture or joint damage, sports physician Mark Fulcher says it’s not time for Kiwi rugby fans to panic.
“It’s a bummer but I don’t think the nation should be panicking too much,” Fulcher told the Herald.
“From the sounds of things, I’m sure he’ll be at the World Cup.”
Retallick went down with a dislocated shoulder after being on the receiving end of a ruck cleanout an hour into the 16-all draw against the Springboks at Westpac Stadium last night.
Speaking broadly on the injury, Fulcher was confident that if all went to plan, it was likely Retallick would recover just in time for All Blacks’ first pool game against South Africa in Yokohama on September 21.
“If I was managing him, I’d be feeling quite optimistic about getting him to the World Cup,” Fulcher said.
“He’s obviously a key player so I can imagine they’ll be giving him every opportunity to recover.
“Best case scenario, he’ll progressively rehabilitate his shoulder over the next six weeks and potentially it will never be a problem for him ever again and that wouldn’t be an unrealistic scenario.
“I guess the worst case scenario would be that he’ll have further symptoms and won’t make the World Cup … but it sounds like there are no structural problems.”
With the injury not directly related to fatigue, Fulcher said should Retallick recover in time, game time at the World Cup won’t be an issue either.
“If you tear a hamstring, for example, there are a lot of things around load. The more you do, the more fatigued you are and the more likely you are to a recurrent,” he explained.
“Although there is a degree to that being true for this injury, it is probably more about impact and collision.
“He’ll obviously be doing a lot of rehabilitation and preventative work and taping and bracing the shoulder to reduce the risk of further instability.”
Earlier, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said he too was optimistic over Retallick’s return.
“There’s a good possibility he could make the World Cup,” Hansen said.
“There’s no timeline yet as to when he’ll return to play, but hopefully he’ll be available.”
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