Gray faces another delay

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 08 November 2012 | 14.43

Robbie Gray when he injured his knee. Picture: George Salpigtidis Source: Sunday Herald Sun

ACE Port Adelaide forward Robbie Gray faces a delayed start to 2013.

Gray, who had his right knee reconstructed in April, could miss the first month of the premiership season because of nerve damage in a calf.

He suffered the injury when his leg horrifically buckled when landing from a marking contest in the final minute of the Power's round four loss to Collingwood.

"My knee's actually feeling really good now,'' Gray said.

Port Adelaide's Robbie Gray kicks under pressure from Jake Batchelor of the Tigers during their round 10 match in Darwin. Source: Getty Images

"But because of the nerve damage in my calf from the incident my leg faded away and I lost a lot of strength in the calf. So I need to be able to build my calf back up and get it strong enough to be able to run again.

"At the moment all I can do is a bit of jogging, so I have to work hard on building my strength and power back up.''

Gray began jogging last month and yesterday returned from London with his Port team-mates after spending 10 days in Europe.

The team beat the Western Bulldogs by one point in its exhibition game in London on Sunday and worked out at the Australian Institute of Sport's European training base outside Milan in northern Italy.

Gray upped the ante on his training on the trip under the guidance of new head fitness coach Darren Burgess.

While most AFL players return from traditional knee reconstructions within 10 months, 24-year-old Gray is now facing a year out of the game.

"I definitely want to be back early in the year but there's no (return) date set yet,'' he said.

"We'll wait and see what happens. I don't want to rush it obviously because it was a pretty serious injury.

"We'll see what happens over summer and just how everything progresses with the injury.''

Getting the injury-prone Gray on the park is crucial to Port's chances of climbing the ladder under new coach Ken Hinkley.

Talent-wise, Gray - a brilliant small forward/midfielder - is one of the club's top five players but he has played only 70 games in six seasons.

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