Carlton coach David Teague has poured cold water on reports that captain Patrick Cripps is playing with a fracture in his back.
Reports emerged on Thursday morning that Cripps was playing with a fractured back and receiving injections weekly to play games every week and lead his team. But the Carlton coach has refuted and dismissed the claims at Ikon Park this morning, saying that Cripps, despite having slightly hurt his back early in the season, is completely fine and ready to lead his side into a crunch game against Melbourne this weekend.
The out of contract star has endured some indifferent form across the first two months of season 2021 but Teague said the midfield bull has been training fully for the last month and a half and is determined to continue leading his side as they look to regain control of their season.
“He’s fine,” Teague said on Thursday.
“He’s doing all of the training. He’ll complete everything in training today. He doesn’t have a fractured back. Not at all.”
“Everything has healed now and he’s fine. He had a sore back, I’m not sure what the actual findings were. But that was reported, he had a sore back earlier in the year. I think he’s been completing full training since round two or three.
“It’s not an issue now. You can talk about it if you want, but it’s in the past.”
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Much has been made of Cripps’ form and body management, particularly amplified this week after he started the second half of last week’s game against the Western Bulldogs on the interchange bench.
He collected only 15 disposals last week which was his lowest tally in a full-length game since July 2019.
Teague wouldn’t be drawn to addressing the wayward form and fitness of his star captain, saying that he is fit and ready to lead from the front this Sunday.
“The story right now should be whether Cripps is fine to play and yes he is. That’s exciting for us and our fans. He’s completing all of our training and he’s playing strong. That’s what we want.”
Former captain Marc Murphy looks set to return to the senior lineup after missing the last 2 weeks with neck soreness. He looks set to replace Jack Silvagni who will miss the game through concussion after being medically substituted out of the game last week.
After another strong outing on return in the VFL, ruckman Tom De Koning looks poised to take his place in the senior side for the first time this season, along with rebounding defender Nic Newman.