Knee injury could spell end of Saville's career

Wollongong’s Glen Saville in possession against New Zealand on Saturday night. Picture: ADAM McLEAN
Wollongong’s Glen Saville in possession against New Zealand on Saturday night. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Decorated Wollongong forward Glen Saville might have played his last game.

The two-time Olympian will undergo scans tomorrow after injuring his left knee in Saturday’s 91-74 home loss to the New Zealand Breakers.

Saville left the court after five minutes and did not return.

Yesterday he woke to find swelling around his knee.

‘‘I don’t know exactly what I’ve done and I don’t know how I did it in the game, but with my history of knee injuries, it feels like I’ve damaged a cartilage somehow,’’ the just-turned 37-year-old forward said.

‘‘I just tried to run [in the game] and there was something wrong with it. I didn’t have a lot of pain but it wasn’t moving very freely. I’ve woken up this morning it’s all swollen and I can’t really bend it.’’

Saville is in his 19th season and was playing his 563rd NBL game on Saturday. The 2001 finals MVP is fourth on the all-time list of games played behind Tony Ronaldson (665), Andrew Gaze (612) and Leroy Loggins (567).

There was always a good chance he would not return for an incredible 20th season, though Saville hadn’t publicly confirmed his plans. Sadly, now he might be forced into retirement a little earlier than he hoped.

If anyone has earned the right to finish on his own terms, it’s the boy from Bendigo who joined the Hawks as a 19-year-old in 1995.

Just like his former Hawks teammate and Bendigo buddy Mat Campbell, Saville deserves to be chaired off the court after his final game. He hopes his blink-and-you-missed-it exit from the court on Saturday wasn’t his final fling in Hawks colours.

Asked if he would ever play again, Saville said: ‘‘I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t crossed my mind.

‘‘I still hadn’t made up my mind if I was retiring or not and now is not the time to think about it.

‘‘I’ll get the scans and see what’s happening with my knee, then I’ll get my head around it and cross that bridge when I know what my situation is. If I do need surgery, hopefully it’s something that doesn’t keep me out for the rest of the season.’’

The fourth-placed Hawks (8-10) have lost seven straight and need to win at least four of their final 10 games to stay in the finals picture.

This weekend they are on the road against Adelaide (Friday) and Perth (Sunday).

Glen Saville is  Wollongong’s seventh player this season to miss games through injury. 

He is  the club’s fourth player to suffer a knee injury in 2012-13.

‘‘It’s pretty disappointing with what’s going on with all the injuries,’’ he said.

‘‘You expect these kind of injuries more on football squads with all the contact they have.

‘‘It’s easily the worst I’ve seen in all my years. I’ve been on teams with lots of niggles and the odd major injury, but the injuries we’re getting are long-term ones.

‘‘There’s not a lot you can do about it. [Coach] Gordie’s [McLeod] questioning what we’re doing with our workload, but we get adequate recovery time and we never train more than two days in a row.

‘‘They’re just freak injuries and unfortunately they all seem to be coming at once,’’ Saville said.


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