Richmond, Hawthorn and North Melbourne

The first game of football for 2012 was a forgettable one for all involved. In a generally scrappy affair, North Melbourne came away with a narrow victory at the expense of an injury headache.

Leigh Adams and Reece Conca clashed heads, with Adams needing to be subbed off with a concussion scare and Conca needing attention to a gash on his face. Neither will see any time on the pine for injuries, but Conca may have a date with the match review panel.

The most concerning incident of the night came courtesy of a heavy blow to the side of Nathan Grima’s knee. The knock resulted in a tear to Grima’s medial collateral ligament (MCL), which will cause him to miss 4-6 weeks of footy.

A heavy blow to the side of the knee can cause everything from bruising to an ACL tear. If the knee is bent and the foot planted firmly on the ground, it will absorb that force by twisting, which places strain on the ACL.

If the leg is straight and not so firmly planted on the ground, it can take the force through the MCL without twisting. Grima’s leg lifted and there didn’t appear to be any rotation, hence MCL was most likely. Being the optimist that I am, I originally suggested that bruising was most likely, hoping that North Melbourne fans would start following me on twitter. No such luck for Grima or my twitter feed.

GWS, Western Bulldogs and Collingwood

Collingwood bore the brunt of the injuries in the second three-way encounter of 2012. Premiership player Brent Macaffer suffered an ACL rupture. Macaffer was hit hard from the side in a scrappy contest. The replay clearly shows Macaffer’s leg twisting, placing pressure on the ACL. These sorts of traumatic ACL ruptures, in contrast to the non-contact injury incurred by Mark Lecras, often produce not merely damage to the ACL, but also to the MCL and the medial meniscus. This makes for a more complicated surgical and rehabilitation process, and greatly increases his chance of chronic knee pain in the future.

Essendon, West Coast and Fremantle

Match-up three provided precisely what any footy fan would hope for: no significant injuries. There were some heads rattled (Matt de Boer and Jack Darling) and lots of big physical contests, but everyone managed to keep their knees out of harms way.


Brent Macaffer (Collingwood) – ACL (season)
Nathan Grima (North Melbourne) – MCL (4-6 weeks)