Lavington Panthers' Banks has eye on return

Lavington Panthers' Jay Banks

Lavington Panthers' Jay Banks

LAVINGTON livewire Jay Banks hasn’t given up on playing again this year, despite breaking his leg on Saturday.

But Banks, who fractured his left fibula against Wangaratta, is the first to admit he faces a race against time to be fit for the Panthers’ push at a premiership.

The Lavington vice-captain looks set to miss the rest of the season after coming down heavily under a tackle in the opening seconds of the final quarter against the Pies at the weekend.

Lavington had hoped it was just a cork but scans revealed the injury was far worse than expected.

“I’ve been given a four to six week time-frame but I’ll try to get it to heal as quickly as I can,” Banks, 27, said.

“There’s no displacement of the bone, so I haven’t given up on getting back just yet.

“I’ll stay off my feet as much as I can and do all the right things.

“It’s a bit of a race against time but there is still a glimmer of hope.

“I’m keeping a pretty open mind.”

Banks’ injury shapes a huge blow for the Panthers as they look to break Albury and Yarrawonga’s recent stranglehold on the Ovens and Murray grand final.

The Lavington speedster has returned to his electric best this year and has gone goalless just twice for the season on his way to 24 goals from 16 games.

He will have more scans on Monday but is likely to be put in a moon boot.

“It’s really a week-by-week thing,” Banks said.

“Obviously nobody likes being injured and the timing isn’t great but that’s just how it is.

“I’ll still be involved, whether it’s on the ground or off it.

“You do want to be out there though, especially with a big game like Saturday coming up.”

It’s not all bad news for the Panthers leading into Saturday’s blockbuster against the Pigeons.

Lewis Gardiner has returned from a mid-season trip overseas and the versatile youngster could make his way back into the side on Saturday.

Myles Aalbers and Adam Prior have both returned from long-term injuries in the past fortnight.