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Thomas contract talks may be impacted by ankle surgery

Matt Thompson  May 22, 2013 6:53 PM

Daisy's value dropping Dr Peter Larkins says Dale Thomas' serious ankle injury may hurt his contract negotiations
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Magpie Dale Thomas is out until at least round 20 following ankle surgery

Daisy's got a real challenge in front of him
DALE THOMAS' ongoing ankle woes could reduce his price tag amid his delayed contract negotiations with Collingwood, according to leading sports medico Dr Peter Larkins.

The Magpies star becomes a restricted free agent at season's end, and told AFL.com.au before the season that he didn't want to discuss a new deal with Collingwood until he was fully fit and back in form.

"At the minute I don’t think they’d be too keen to talk contracts and I don’t know if I would be either with a bung foot and obviously coming off not a great season," Thomas said in January.

But since then the 25-year-old hasn't been able to burst back into form, and another round of surgery has all but ended his season.

The midfielder's close connection with Carlton coach Mick Malthouse provides an obvious link to one other club – and a fit Thomas would surely spark interest from many others.

But Larkins warns there are no guarantees Thomas will ever return to his best after such a prolonged injury setback.

"There's no 100 percent recovery from these operations, there's just good recovery," Larkins told AFL.com.au.

"When we start talking about cartilage or tendons around the ankle then that can be chronic scarring it can be soreness and weakness that lingers on and these players play with ankle strapping and they get treatment for the rest of their career."

"Daisy's got a real challenge in front of him. I know he'll play footy next year, I've got no doubt in my mind.

"(But) whether it's the old Daisy or whether it's going to be an adapted Daisy I don't know."

"And that's why clubs that are looking at him will certainly want to take that on board when they consider that."

As a restricted free-agent Collingwood has the right to match any offer made to Thomas from another club.

Speaking on Tuesday, Collingwood football director Geoff Walsh rejected any link between Thomas' injury issues and contract negotiations.

"I would not have thought the two are connected, no," Walsh said.

Thomas has played 157 games since debuting for Collingwood in 2006. He's played just five games in 2013.

Matt Thompson is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter @MattThompsonAFL