Feeling the strain: Bomber David Zaharakis.ESSENDON midfielder David Zaharakis could miss next month’s NAB Cup after straining a quad muscle at training on Monday.
Bombers acting football manager Danny Corcoran told Fairfax Media that Zaharakis had scans on Tuesday and was diagnosed with a grade one strain.
”We got the MRI this morning and he is not too bad,” he said.
Asked if Zaharakis would miss the NAB Cup, Corcoran said: ”Potentially. He is pain-free today and we just have to work our way through it and see how he pulls up.
”He has had a super pre-season. Fortunately it’s a different injury [to last season], which is always good to know. He will miss a couple of weeks, no doubt.”
The Bombers will desperately hope this is not the start of another soft-tissue epidemic which cruelled their 2012 campaign. They had more than 20 injuries in this area, prompting a post-season review.
Zaharakis suffered a severe quad strain at training last year heading into the round 11 clash against Sydney and did not return until round 21, when he admitted he may have returned too early.
The 2011 best and fairest had been in brilliant touch before the injury. He eventually played 13 games last season.
Despite Zaharakis’ setback, the club has had 90 per cent of its players complete 95 per cent of the pre-season program, something midfielder Dyson Heppell said had contributed to a higher standard of training throughout summer.
”It’s definitely a massive help and it’s allowed us to be able to [rotate players],” said the 20-year-old, who plans to increase his time in the midfield this year.
”It has been a really good, really big pre-season, but I think in terms of our training it’s been a lot of endurance type running which has allowed the boys to get that real fitness base up.
”We’ve got some real quality in our training sessions.
”I reckon we’ll definitely benefit from the pre-season we had last year. It was a big pre-season in terms of our weights and the running we were putting in.”
Essendon opens its NAB Cup round-robin campaign against the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood at Etihad Stadium on February 15.
■Melbourne has moved Max Gawn back on to its long-term injury list, with the ruckman recently suffering a hamstring injury after missing the entire 2012 season with a knee injury.
Gawn had his right knee reconstructed in December 2011 and will need to spend a minimum of eight weeks on the long-term injury list, allowing the Demons to promote a rookie if he is unavailable for round one.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.