Tassie Bomber's injury only a setback

A PHILOSOPHICAL Thomas Bellchambers is quick to shrug off his delayed start to 2014, confident that it will not stop him from having a big impact for Essendon this season.

That's not to say there isn't a level of frustration from within the 24-year-old Launceston ruckman, who strained ligaments on both sides of his left ankle following an incident at training in January.

However, he has been given a stark reminder that, while it is a major setback, it is not the end of his football world.

"To put things into perspective Alex Browne, a teammate of mine, went down and did his anterior cruciate ligament in his knee [in the first NAB Challenge match against Gold Coast]," Bellchambers told The Examiner.

"It is frustrating, but I'm hoping to be back by round 6 or round 7, it's hard to pin-point a specific date.

"It's obviously terrible, but it's not a season-ending injury like Alex's."

Bellchambers no longer needs a moon boot, and has been spending plenty of time on a weight-absorbing treadmill, plus cross- training, swimming, cycling and weights-work. His confidence about his injury has been backed up by Essendon doctor Bruce Reid, who said Bellchambers was progressing as expected in his recovery.

The Tasmanian hurt his ankle in January after landing on teammate Michael Hibberd's foot at training.

What looked like a few weeks on the sidelines quickly turned into months.

"It's just one of those things, I went up and took a mark, came down and I got hit in mid-air.

"When I went to put my foot down it wasn't where I thought it was going to land. When I did it, I thought I had rolled my ankle badly, but after having scans and seeing the specialist, there was a little bit more damage unfortunately.

"I dislocated the ankle and ruptured the ligaments on both sides, and the surgeon went in there and repaired the lateral and medial ligaments and cleaned a little bit of the cartilage damage up."

It's a cruel blow for Bellchambers, the eighth pick in the 2008 pre-season draft and one of the Bombers' most important players.

He had completed all of the required workload, which included a high- altitude training in Colorado, in his quest to back-up from a career-best 2013.

Not only was he dominant in the ruck last season, averaging 22 hit- outs, but kicked 28 goals, the second most at the club, and averaged 10 disposals a game.

However, he also spent time out of the team [he played 18 of the 22 games], a situation he is prepared for again in the second half of this year.

"That's something that's going to happen with me," Bellchambers, who has played 61 games since his 2008 debut, said.

"I find it hard to put 22 games together, which is all part of my progression as a young ruckman in the game.

"For me it's all about consistency and putting the games in week-in, week- out."

Linked to Greater Western Sydney for a lot of last season, Bellchambers admitted he did consider an offer from the Giants before deciding to re-sign with the Bombers until the end of 2015.

"As a footballer, you have to consider all your options. I was out of contract and a lot of players who are out of contract get offers from other teams, which is well documented.

"But to be honest, it was a pretty easy decision for me to make in the end.

"When it came down to it, I was really happy to stay at Essendon as the club has been good to me.

"Circumstances do change and I think footy is changing as well, and you also see ruckmen change clubs a lot later in their career, but at the moment, I'm very happy where I am."

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