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Richo backs Clark to bounce back from foot surgery

Peter Ryan  April 30, 2013 5:12 PM

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Mitch Clark will miss up to eight weeks after an operation to remove a screw from his surgically repaired foot

RICHMOND legend Matthew Richardson says he is confident that Melbourne's Mitch Clark will make a full recovery from his foot injury once he has a screw removed from his foot.

Richardson suffered a LisFranc injury in round 4, 2000 and resumed in round one the following season.

Clark suffered a similar season-ending injury in round 13 last season, yet managed to return in round 1 against Port Adelaide.

However, the Demons forward had been battling in recent weeks and missed Sunday's game against the Lions with a foot sprain.

On Tuesday, Melbourne announced that Clark would have surgery to take a screw out of his foot and was likely to miss the next six to eight weeks.

He is due to have surgery on Wednesday morning.

Richardson, who used the same specialist as Clark (Mark Blackney), said he had surgery, then did rehab, then had the screw out before he started playing in 2001.

He also said that because he suffered the injury early in the season he had a longer time out than Clark before resuming.

Apart from hamstring problems that he suspects may have been a consequence of the orthotics he wore after the injury, Richardson did not miss another game because of his foot problem.

"I'll be confident that once he gets the screw out he'll be fine, from my experience," Richardson told afl.com.au.

Melbourne football manager Josh Mahoney shared Richardson's confidence, saying that Clark's foot had healed very well after the surgery and everyone involved was very confident with the strength of the ligament.

Mahoney said the screw was changing the loads in Clark's foot and as a consequence, the key forward was having some trouble with his feet.

"He has acknowledged that in the last couple of weeks he has felt uncomfortable and he was probably starting to worry about what is going on so he sees it as a relief to be taking the screw out," Mahoney said.

Clark admitted he had been frustrated but he was hopeful that this would be the last stage in his comeback.

"I’ve got a little bit of that stress and pain around my old injury, so we believe that the screw might be contributing to that," he told melbournefc.com.au.

"It’s not ideal to be having mid-season surgery, but in the big scheme of things, hopefully this will release the pressure off my foot, and it will allow me to play the second half of the season better and I’ll get a full pre-season in."

The Demons will wait until after Clark has had surgery before deciding whether to place the key forward on the long-term injury list. Mahoney said that decision would depend on how long he is likely to be out, which would and be clearer once surgery was completed.