SWANS captain-coach Guy Orton is in line for a shock return from injury for Sunday’s daunting away trip to undefeated Coolamon.
Orton’s season appeared over last week when he rushed himself to hospital after experiencing excruciating pain through the left side of his torso, with doctors confirming he had a fracture in one of his lower vertabrae.
The reigning Jim Quinn medallist missed Sunday’s 102-point loss to Collingullie-AK and was considered unlikely to play again this year, but sought a second opinion on the delicate injury this week.
“The fracture’s actually not too concerning,” he told The Area News.
“The pain I was getting was actually coming from the ribs, where the bone beets the cartilage. It just moved or stressed the muscle around it and that’s why it hurt to breathe or bend over on that side.
“The original diagnosis I got was not really correct, so it’s better news than I first heard ... (my physiotherapist) knows my back better than anyone and I’m pretty confident in his judgment.”
Just as well, given the frustration coursing through his veins on Sunday as he coached from the bench – not from the field, as he is accustomed to.
“I can’t do another week of being a sideline coach,” he said.
Orton said the Swans have quickly moved on from back-to-back triple-figure floggings, and are focused on finishing off the 2013 season on the right note.
But he admitted a similar fate could await them against top side Coolamon should Griffith not turn up with the right attitude.
“We’ll go in hoping we can get a result, but we know we can’t make finals,” Orton said.
“It’s pretty much now about getting a bit of game time into everyone and learning how we play together, and hopefully we can all stick around next year and build towards that.
“There’s no point bringing up the weekend when there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Griffith is unlikely to make too many changes for Sunday’s clash, with only Royce Johns in line from a call-up from the reserves.
Orton said the Swans will juggle the squad over the final weeks of the season with the reserves side a good chance of going deep into the finals.
Planning for season 2014 is already well and truly underway, with the Swans understood to have met with at least one prospective new signing over the weekend.
“We’re not going to disclose any names but we’re searching – a lot of clubs are, and you’ve got to start early, that’s the key,” Orton said.