SCOTT Pendlebury’s broken finger could be a major blow for Collingwood and coach Nathan Buckley as they aim for a strong finish to the AFL season.
The Magpies captain will undergo surgery on Monday to have a pin inserted in the finger after suffering the injury in Saturday night’s win over Gold Coast.
Pendlebury will not know until after the operation how long he will be out of action, although he probably will miss Sunday’s Etihad Stadium game against West Coast.
But it could be multiple weeks and there is speculation that the injury could end the star midfielder’s season.
“If it’s two, three, four, five weeks, whatever it is, I will just go about the (recovery) process,” Pendlebury said.
The weekend’s win meant, for a few days at least, there has been an easing of the rampant speculation about Buckley’s future.
Collingwood said last week that no decision will be made on their out-of- contract coach until the end of the season.
They will miss the finals for the fourth year in a row and Buckley needs Collingwood to finish the season with a flourish as he tries to retain his job.
Losing Pendlebury for several weeks would hit the Magpies hard.
The five-time All-Australian has won their last four club best and fairest awards – he has five in total – and undoubtedly is among the leaders again this season.
Pendlebury is one short of Buckley’s record six Copeland Trophys as the Collingwood best and fairest winner.
MEANWHILE, North Melbourne has confirmed Mitch Hibberd and Ben Jacobs will both miss the rest of the season.
Hibberd will undergo surgery on a shoulder injury suffered in the loss to Port Adelaide on Saturday,.
He will make a delayed start to pre-season, with the timeframe for his return anywhere between 4-6 months.
Jacobs had minor foot surgery last week, with the club choosing not to risk bringing him back.
© AAP 2017