Amid calls for Matthew Lloyd to work with the Saints spearhead, the coach will continue to back the club to fix things up internally.
St Kilda star midfielder Lenny Hayes’ AFL season is almost certainly over, after scans confirmed a serious knee injury. The 31-year-old ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) against Richmond on Friday night.
The Saints are unlikely to use the LARS artificial graft method, which would give Hayes a chance to return this year.
Football manager Greg Hutchison said a conventional reconstruction looked like the preferred option, making a return for the start of the 2012 season the best-case scenario.
“The general feeling is at the moment it’s going to be conventional surgery,” Hutchison told Melbourne’s 3AW radio.
“There’s a couple of other little things involved, like his medial ligament, which will require some rest for that as well.
“The path we’re looking at at the moment is conventional surgery.”
Hutchison said Hayes had been bracing for bad news, since twisting his knee during the third quarter of Friday night’s drawn game.
“Over the course of the night he was under the realisation it was going to be the worst,” he said.
“He’s obviously really disappointed about it, but he’s also got terrific strength of character so he’s certainly going to do the rehab and get himself ready to go next year.”
Hayes’ loss is an enormous blow to the Saints’ premiership aspirations, after close shaves in grand finals over the past two seasons.
The Saints’ vice-captain won the Norm Smith Medallist as best afield in last year’s drawn grand final and also won the club’s best and fairest award last season.
But Hutchison said St Kilda had shown in withstanding a serious hamstring injury to skipper Nick Riewoldt last season that they had the resilience to cope.
“Our players are used to adversity and distractions, and this is another one. They’ll work really hard and we’ll find someone who can step in.”
The Saints have only two points from two matches so far, losing to Geelong in round one then sharing the points with the Tigers.
They meet Essendon in round three.