GARY Ablett may have to shelve his preference for natural healing and adopt conventional methods if he wants to speed his return to the field, says Dr Peter Larkins.
Ablett will miss Sunday's game for Gold Coast against Geelong and has been ruled out indefinitely following a setback to his surgically repaired shoulder.
Larkins says while further surgery is still an option, there's not a lot of upside to it, as Ablett's shoulder needs time to recover and strengthen through exercise. The dual Brownlow medallist is a firm believer in unassisted healing and takes a limited number of anti-inflammatories, but Larkins says Ablett might have to reconsider his approach.
"He's very pure and I mean that in the nicest way," Larkins told AFL.com.au.
"He's not a big fan of conventional medical treatments, so he doesn't like taking anti-inflammatory tablets - and this is an inflammation condition - and he doesn't like operations.
"I've spoken to him about that, and I think that's great, but the problem is now he's got to accept that natural recovery for this is very poor and he does need medical help.
"He may need to look at least at what the conventional treatments are, which [are] slow, but he needs to be throwing 100 per cent behind the medical advice, and I'm not sure whether that's been the way he's approached it up until now."
Ablett had a shoulder reconstruction last August and played his first match against Melbourne in round one and was in clear discomfort. He was no better against St Kilda in round two, so the Suns decided to temporarily halt his season.
Larkins was reluctant to put a timeframe on his return, but said Ablett would be looking at a minimum of three to four weeks out. He said Ablett needed to strengthen the shoulder, regain its range of motion and settle down the inflammation before he could consider playing again.
"I can understand them (Gold Coast) not predicting a time because right now he's worse than before round one," Larkins said.
"It's going to come down to the clinical assessment every week – they'll be looking at his pain, they'll be looking at his movement, they'll be looking at his strength.
"Until they're 90 per cent plus - and I reckon he looks 60 or 70 per cent at the moment - I can't see why they'd want to play him."
Ablett underwent a cleanout of scar tissue during the pre-season, but Larkins said the contact of being tackled would have stirred the shoulder up.
He said Ablett was likely to have cortisone and saline injections this week to stretch the shoulder and reduce the inflammation.
"By playing, I think he was putting the team ahead of himself, and on this occasion that wasn't the right decision," Larkins said.
"There'll be some very serious discussions held between his surgeon and the club doctor and the club in the next week.
"What treatment he has will depend on whether he's willing to take on board the medical advice and go with what we do know that works, even though it's slow to work."