Sydney ruckman Tom Hickey has been ruled out for six weeks with a knee injury and coach John Longmire isn’t expecting a miraculous early recovery this time around.
Hickey is in a brace after straining the medial ligament in his right knee during last week’s 11-point AFL loss to the Western Bulldogs.
The setback has opened the door for former Port Adelaide ruckman Peter Ladhams to make his Swans debut in Saturday’s clash with North Melbourne at the SCG.
Hickey was tipped to spend 6-8 weeks on the sidelines early last year after injuring the PCL in his left knee, but he managed to return after just one game out.
Longmire said there was no chance of that happening this time around.
“I’m hoping that’s the case, I’d love to be proved wrong. But I was told that’s not going to happen,” Longmire said on Monday.
“He’s in a brace, the medial needs to stick. It’s a different injury. Unfortunately we expect him to be out for that six-week period.”
Ladhams played 32 games for Port Adelaide across three seasons before being traded to the Swans at the end of last year.
The 24-year-old’s bid to play from round one was put on ice after he experienced knee tendonitis during the summer, contracted COVID-19, and then was concussed in an intra-club game.
But two solid hit-outs in the VFL have left Ladhams ready to step up to AFL ranks, and the timing is perfect given Hickey’s injury.
“Yeah he’ll come in this week,” Longmire said.
“He had a bit of an interrupted pre-season, so we wanted to get some footy into him, which we did at the back-end of the pre-season series and for the first few weeks (in the VFL).
“We just think he’s got the capacity to be able to add to that midfield group in regards to not only the ruck contest … but also the ability to be able to get the ball around the ground.”
Defender Justin McInerney is expected to return from a knee strain, but small forward Tom Papley (hamstring) will miss at least one more week.
“We’re pleased with how he’s coming along,” Longmire said of Papley.
“It was a significant injury, and we know what sort of player he is – he plays with real power and intensity.
“He’s been doing some training over the last few weeks at a lower level. We’re hoping to up the intensity a bit this week and see what he’s like for next week.”
The Kangaroos are aiming to bounce back from their humiliating 108-point loss to the Lions in Brisbane.