Wangaratta Rovers’ veteran Sean O’Keeffe is uncertain if he’ll play this season due to a long-running finger complaint.
The 35-year-old snapped a tendon in his left ring finger a year ago, but he says surgery to fix the problem last November resulted in a condition called Dupuytren’s contracture, where the finger bends back into the palm of the hand.
“Your finger almost turns into a claw and that’s what my finger’s doing at the moment,” he said.
“It was always going to be a two-part surgery, but it’s activated this condition.
“I thought I’d better do something about it, otherwise I’ll have a ‘gumby’ finger for the rest of my life, I’ve already got nine others.”
The surgeon said if you re-injure it, you’re back to square one.Sean O'Keeffe
The Hawks’ defender is set to have the second bout of surgery in October.
He’s not planning to play any practice games.
“It didn’t have too much of an impact last year,” he said.
“I can probably tape it, but I’ve tried a couple of times at training and it’s not fantastic.
“The surgeon said if you re-injure it, you’re back to square one.
“I’ve spoken to ‘Rosco’ (co-coach Ross) Hill, and he just said, ‘do whatever you are happy with’.
Ironically, the electrical engineer has rarely been fitter.
“I’ve been doing quite a bit of running, it’s probably the lightest I’ve been for probably five or 10 years,” he said.
“I’m 82 kilograms, where I’ve been around 85 to 87.”
He’s the league’s most underrated ex-AFL player.
Drafted at 46 in the same draft as Nick Riewoldt in 2000, he played six games with Carlton.
He then snared two VFL premierships with Sandringham.