South Sydney are bracing themselves for the possibility of inspirational captain Sam Burgess being forced into early retirement.
Burgess, who turns 31 in December, was on Wednesday ruled out of the upcoming Great Britain Lions tour due to the chronic shoulder injury that plagued him throughout the Rabbitohs’ season.
The playing future of Souths captain Sam Burgess is shrouded in uncertainty.Credit:Getty Images
Later in the day, though, it emerged that he could be missing more than just the historic tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea with his future at Redfern shrouded in doubt.
It remains unclear if he will require off-season surgery, but Souths officials are concerned about his long-term future and are already resigned to the fact he won’t see out his four-year deal, which was announced last year.
There are fears that Burgess might not even make it onto the field for round one next season, with a source close to the English international saying "he’s got some big decisions to make".
"It’s a bit early for that call," Rabbitohs head of football Shane Richardson told the Herald.
Channel Nine reported on Monday that Souths were concerned about chronic arthritis in Burgess’ shoulder, with only 25 percent bone left in the troubled area.
Burgess has already had two reconstructions on the injured shoulder and required further surgery on it midway through this season.
It was timed around Souths’ mid-season byes, but he missed another seven weeks due to an infection, although that was related to a previous surgery.
Burgess is renowned for playing through pain, and did so for the remainder of the year, but he was clearly hampered in his side’s preliminary final loss to Canberra at GIO Stadium.
While Burgess has a high pain threshold, he is also a proud player and it is understood he is concerned about playing up to his usual high standards.
It’s a cruel twist of fate for Souths, who earlier this year saw Greg Inglis forced into retirement because of chronic shoulder and knee problems.
Burgess' brother, Tom, is optimistic that the Souths captain hasn’t played his last game of football.
"Obviously, he missed a few games this year and he’s made the smart decision, I think," he said. "If you’re missing more than a couple of games a year through a chronic injury then you’ve got to think about it. You speak to the medical staff and make a smart decision.
"He needs to recuperate his body properly in the off-season. He’ll get his body right and get himself right for next year.
"He’s very determined to get it right and I’m sure he will."
Source: Read Full Article