Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Injured ABs set for Super 14 return
Yahoo!Xtra Sport / Neil Reid - April 1, 2009

All Black stars Ali Williams and Richie McCaw should soon be cleared for a return to duty with their respective Super Rugby franchises.

And hopes are high that Chiefs wing Sitiveni Sivivatu's shoulder injury is not as bad as first feared.

All Black doctor Deb Robinson said she has been monitoring closely the injury status of test stars who have been sidelined during the first seven weeks of the Rebel Sport Super 14.

McCaw has been out with injury since the Crusaders' round three loss to the Highlanders with knee ligament damage.

However, he has made a return to limited duties, predominantly straight-line running.

The Crusaders' medical staff are gradually working on increasing the pace at which McCaw is running, as well as carefully getting him back into lateral movement.

He will again be sidelined for Friday night's round eight clash against the Bulls in Christchurch.

The Crusaders then enjoy their competition bye.

Robinson said at a pinch that McCaw could have been fit to play the weekend of the bye.

But the extra week off should benefit him, with the All Black captain likely to make his long-awaited return to the field in the April 19 clash against the Sharks in Durban.

McCaw's 2008 Crusaders' team-mate Ali Williams also joined the All Black injury ward last weekend, being forced from Eden Park in the Blues' loss to the Waratahs.

At first it was feared he had suffered a serious Achilles injury.

However, scans have since declared he should be ready for the Good Friday clash against the Lions, with the Blues having their competition bye this weekend.

Robinson said Williams was already showing strong progress and had good movement around the troublesome Achilles.

Meanwhile, Robinson said Sivivatu appeared to be responding well to treatment on his injured shoulder.

The All Black wing, who has been in outstanding form over the past two weeks, damaged his shoulder while diving over the try-line at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium during the Chiefs' demolition job on the Reds last weekend.

He reeled away in pain, with the pain magnified when the match officials showed their incompetence in refusing to award the try.

Robinson said Sivivatu had a history of shoulder injuries when he put too much impact on the joint.

However, she said it was hoped that the latest flare-up was not a serious one.

As well as monitoring the fitness of test regulars, including in weekly injury updates to team management, Robinson has also been charged by the side's coaching team to monitor the status of potential bolters for the upcoming Iveco Series.

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