McCaw faces surgery

Mon, 03 Mar 2014 07:04
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All Black captain Richie McCaw will undergo surgery to fix his fractured thumb, although it is not expected to sideline him for more than eight weeks.

All Black captain Richie McCaw will undergo surgery to fix his fractured thumb, although it is not expected to sideline him for more than eight weeks.

The Crusaders confirmed on Monday that McCaw saw a specialist to assess his broken thumb.

"He will receive surgery tomorrow [Tuesday] to have a screw inserted," a brief statement from the Crusaders medical staff said.

"This is a very common operation for an injury of this type - a Bennetts fracture.

"The screw remains in permanently but should have no long-term effects," the statement added.

The recovery time is still expected to be up to eight weeks and the Crusaders will now have to rejuvenate their Super Rugby season without the services of McCaw.

It's a massive blow for McCaw who has been below his best form in both of the Crusaders' matches so far this season and comes on the back of him missing most of last year's campaign while on a sabbatical.

The loss will hit the Crusaders camp hard as they fight to get their season back on track after consecutive losses - a heartbreaking 10-18 loss to the Chiefs in their opening match, followed by a more comprehensive 24-35 hammering at the hands of the Blues at the weekend.

It has left the seven-time champions hovering in second-to-last place on the standings as one of only two teams yet to collect any points. The last-placed Western Force also still have a zero in their points column.

Assistant coach Tabai Matson said they were lucky to be able to call on someone like Matt Todd to step up and fill the void in the No.7 jersey.

"It's a massive loss for us," Matson told the New Zealand media.

"Obviously, to know you aren't going to have the experience of a guy like Richie out there on the paddock is concerning, but we are still very lucky in the fact he will be a part of the environment and be on hand to help out and give his thoughts when they are needed.

"But it's a great chance for Matt Todd to step up."

Outside of McCaw, Matson said the remainder of the Crusaders squad came through the bruising encounter with the Blues relatively unscathed.

McCaw was taken off at half-time after uncharacteristically missing tackles in the Blues' first two tries that launched John Kirwan's side on the road to a comeback win after being down 3-17.

McCaw missed the bulk of last year's Super Rugby championship because of a sabbatical. He is central to the Crusaders' hopes this year, especially with fellow aging star Dan Carter granted a sabbatical.

The Crusaders had Kieran Read playing his first game, but the big No 8 couldn't prevent the Blues from running riot with their bonus point win in front of a big home crowd.

Coach Todd Blackadder was hugely disappointed with the manner of this loss.

"I felt we were in control of the game and then two mistakes ... bang, bang and we were under pressure again," Blackadder said.

"We took the foot off their throat and let them come back into it."

The Crusaders face some serious soul-searching this week as they get set to host the Stormers on Saturday.

* Bennett fracture is a fracture of the base of the first metacarpal bone which extends into the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint.[1] This intra-articular fracture is the most common type of fracture of the thumb, and is nearly always accompanied by some degree of subluxation or frank dislocation of the carpometacarpal joint.

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