GEELONG superstar Patrick Dangerfield has been cleared of major injury after suffering a blow to the throat during his team's disappointing loss to Greater Western Sydney on Friday night.
Dangerfield was substituted out of the match and spent Friday night in hospital, before scans on Saturday morning revealed bruising to his larynx but no fracture.
He is resting up at home after being discharged from hospital, with his availability for next week's game still unknown.
Dangerfield was collected by a raised elbow from Giants ace Toby Greene, who was attempting to fend off the tackle of his Cats counterpart, before leaving the game in some discomfort.
Geelong coach Chris Scott said post-game that he didn't have an issue with Greene's raised elbow, urging supporters to watch the incident at full speed when analysing the action, but said there was reasonable confidence in the Cats camp that Dangerfield had avoided serious injury.
"I can't give an update with Patrick at the moment," Scott said.
"My understanding is he got that contact to the throat region and was having trouble breathing. I think they took him to hospital as a precaution, as much as anything. But we haven't got any further update. I think it's probably good news that we haven't got a negative update.
"I'm being told he's going to stay overnight, but he's feeling fine. It's probably going to be a good 24 hours before we know the full extent of it, but there's a reasonable level of confidence that it's not a serious injury."
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The incident was similar to one involving Melbourne's Bayley Fritsch earlier this year, where the Demons forward was suspended for one match by the Match Review for a high fend-off that left North Melbourne youngster Tom Powell dazed. He later challenged by suspension at the AFL Tribunal, where he successfully cleared his name.
That only came after the Tribunal accounted for the fact that Powell was pushed into the collision, though Scott does not believe Greene will have anything to worry about for his latest controversial moment.
"I'm a little bit of a believer that contact in the moment is a little bit overplayed these days because of the improvement in camera angles and close-ups and slow-motion replays," Scott said.
"I'd need to look at it a little bit closer to give you a really well-reasoned opinion, but I'd just encourage people to look at those things in real time.
"Sometimes, contact happens and it looks bad in a still or in slow motion when it leads to a serious injury. But I don't think that necessarily means that the action, in the context of AFL football, is as bad as it can look when you magnify these things."
Giants coach Leon Cameron, who spent the evening coaching from the bench, agreed that he didn't think Greene would have anything to worry about when the Match Review convenes on Saturday morning.
"I coached from ground level tonight and, to me, it just looked like a football incident," Cameron said.
"I haven't seen the replay, but it looked like a football incident at that close range from the bench. I understand (Dangerfield) has gone to hospital, so our thoughts are with him and hopefully he's OK. But my first thoughts were that it was a simple football incident."
Dangerfield's injury came amid a dirty night for the Cats, who lost to a severely depleted Giants side by 19 points at GMHBA Stadium and subsequently finds themselves at risk of losing their place in the top four.
Gary Rohan was also withdrawn from the match at three-quarter time with a hip injury, while Zach Tuohy was lost to a hamstring complaint late in the game, compounding the Cats' issues.
However, softening the blow will be the return of several key players, with Scott indicating that Jeremy Cameron (hamstring), Lachie Henderson (calf), Tom Atkins (back), Mark O'Connor (knee) and Isaac Smith (managed) will be "better than 50-50" chances of playing next week.
"Zach, as is often the case with a player who has never done a hamstring before, is a bit unsure," Scott said.
"But our medical staff were pretty confident that he does have a hamstring injury. We're not sure of the extent of that, but you would think that it would keep him out for a little bit. A couple of weeks at least is my best guess.
"Gary was a bit wounded from really early in the game, but it was more of a hip issue that we don't think is very serious. We certainly would've taken him out of the game earlier if we thought there was a risk of injury, but he just didn't get better.
"He's had issues like this in the past, so it gives us some confidence that it's not serious and it's something that he can overcome pretty quickly."
Greater Western Sydney's victory came despite playing off a five-day break, as well as losing seven players – Phil Davis (concussion), Jacob Hopper (concussion), Shane Mumford (back), Jesse Hogan (soreness), Tom Green (hamstring), Daniel Lloyd (ankle) and Sam Reid (ankle) – to injury before the game.
Star midfielder Josh Kelly was also ruled out an hour before the contest with quad tightness, while Brent Daniels was forced to be substituted from the match just before three-quarter time with a hamstring injury.
While a number of players will return for next week's clash with Richmond, the Giants believe the upset win has sent a selection message heading into a crucial fortnight that could decide their finals chances.
"It all depends how their week goes," Cameron said of his injured players.
"Clearly, there will be a couple, but I can't tell you how many at this stage. Guys like Hopper and Davis have got to go through concussion protocols. We think Kelly will be OK, but he's coming off a tight quad. There are a few others in that boat.
"It was a significant message by our young fellas tonight that they want to play AFL footy. If they continue to play like that tonight, they're going to be hard to dislodge from the team."