WARNING: There are graphic images below
Gold Coast defender Wil Powell admits he feared his career was over when he saw his ankle facing the wrong way after one of the most horrific leg breaks in the AFL.
But remarkably six months on, Powell is back training and on track for a Round 1 berth.
The 23-year-old was injured in what appeared to be an innocuous tackle on the boundary at Metricon Stadium in June, with his leg caught under his body.
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But replays quickly showed just how devastating the tackle was, with Powell’s right leg clearly broken as medical staff rushed to his aid.
“I was thought I was done for. I was like, ‘I’m not coming back from this’,” he told 7NEWS.
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“I saw my ankle facing the wrong way.
“I hear the little pop that it made when it dislocated.
“I was screaming on the ground, all sorts of thing coming out of my mouth.”
Play had to be delayed for more than five minutes as Powell was treated on the field before he could be shifted to the medi-cab and taken to hospital.
Scans confirmed there was “substantial” damage to Powell’s right leg, including a dislocated and fractured ankle, along with ligament damage.
He spent a few days in hospital after surgery and he was ruled out for the remainder of 2022.
But the lively defender is enjoying his time back at the club on the training track and has his sights set on a Round 1 return – nine kilograms heavier.
“Having that mental confidence and physical confidence that I’m stronger and can hold my own is really good,” he said.
Also on the road to recovery is Powell’s Suns teammate Connor Budarick after his second ACL rupture in 18 months.
Budarick was injured in July but remains on track for a return mid-2023.
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“It was a pure accident, having someone land on my leg in an awkward position,” he told club media.
“I know I can get back to being at my best again.
“I just want to try and be as consistent as possible in the gym and out on the field when I get my chance.”
Budarick, a Suns Academy graduate, has played just 26 games in three years due to injury.
Story Credit: foxsports.com.au