Inspirational North Albury veteran Dan Leslie will need a mini-miracle if he’s to reach 300 games this season.
Leslie was told by his knee specialist on Monday he won’t have surgery, but will need at least another eight weeks before returning.
The 35-year-old is currently stranded on 292 matches after his tore his PCL and medial, as well as sustaining a tear in his calf, against Albury on Anzac Day.
To reach the magic milestone, Leslie would need to return at home against Myrtleford on June 23 and then remain injury-free.
However, the current time frame has him back against Albury on July 14, leaving him stranded on 298 games.
“I’d like to get back in six and play the last eight, that would be nice,” he said.
Leslie debuted in 2000 and he’s built a career as one of the fittest players the league has ever seen.
“I’ve been doing everything right for almost three weeks now, I can’t be doing much more mate,” he said.
“Because it’s the medial and the PCL, the medial will scar up and heal itself-type thing.
“The PCL should heal up OK after that six-week mark as well.”
North has never had a 300-gamer.
Leslie broke Stan Sargeant’s games record of 289 in the round two clash against Yarrawonga.
The three-time club best and fairest was quizzed if he would play on next year if he finished short of 300, as expected.
“Two-hundred and ninety-nine, I don’t think I’d like to finish on that to be honest,” he said.
“I think the one more game would be nice, I’d look at that for sure.”
Two-hundred and ninety-nine, I don’t think I’d like to finish on that to be honest.Dan Leslie
What will also count against Leslie is North would still be expected to be in finals contention in late June.
It means the club would struggle to ‘nurse’ Leslie through against Myrtleford and Wangaratta Rovers, two battling clubs the Hoppers must beat to have any hope of breaking a three-year finals drought.