October 6, 2000

Top Adelaide doctor to assess Vettori

Injured left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori is being sent to an Adelaide specialist in cricketers' back injuries by New Zealand Cricket.

There is also a prospect that Dion Nash will also be sent to see Australian Institute of Sport expert Dr Peter Barnes.

Barnes' reputation has developed as a result of his work with Indian batting sensation Sachin Tendulkar and also Australia's Academy cricketers.

New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) operations manager John Reid said the particular concern for Vettori was his youth and his future in the game.

Reid said Vettori's stress crack had been especially hard to find and was only located after four scans. The first was in Hamilton at the end of last summer, the second was in Zimbabwe during the first Test on the recently completed tour while the third and fourth were in Christchurch.

The last one was taken at the insistence of NZC's medical advisor Dr Rob Campbell. It was the day after the third but was taken from a different angle and revealed the problem.

Reid said that in layman's terms, if a stress injury has occurred it shows up in the scan as a "hot" site which reflects rapid growth of the bone which is trying to heat itself. When the injury is older it is cooler which is the result of less growth.

NZC chief executive Christopher Doig said the inability to detect the original injury would not result in "a finger pointing exercise."

Discussion with Campbell showed that New Zealand's medical panel had done everything correctly and nothing in the way of treatment would have been done differently in Australia, he said.

Doig said the fact was that 10 percent of the population walk around with stress fractures in the back and that the injury didn't need to be career-threatening.

It was also possible that a completely open stress fracture could be pain free.

NZC will also send its physiology expert Warren Frost with Vettori to Adelaide to discuss Vettori's rehabilitation programme.

"Daniel is a special player and we need to treat him carefully," Doig said.

It was still to be decided whether Nash, who returned home from Zimbabwe this week, will go to Adelaide.

Doig said the final decision on whether Nash should be selected for Zimbabwe was his.

"We knew he was 80 percent fit when the team was named. The final decision on him was mine. I had to approve the team selected and I did so knowing Dion was only 80 percent.

"He was a risk we had to take.

"But his work rate was to be monitored and he was to bowl no more than 15 overs a day," he said.

NZC administrators and the medical panel completed a review of the injury problems affecting the Black Caps team yesterday.

The medical panel had been asked to prepare a full report by the end of October on all the international research available on bowlers' back injuries.

"It is accepted that more extensive and comprehensive bone scans are required in future with all bowlers to provide a greater certitude of diagnosis.

"We have asked the medical panel to ensure that all NZC bowlers have access to the best quality specialist advice both in New Zealand and overseas and that these bowlers returning through injury are monitored by the medical team," Doig said.

"The medical team will be collating all the available international research material relating to at risk factors for bowlers.

"This will add to the information we already have in New Zealand and will include information on conditioning, bowler technique, managing bowling loads and bowling intensity, the recovery schedule post-game and the number of games the players take part in.

"Their report will be completed within the next three weeks and this will ensure that NAC is providing world best practice in these areas for our athletes," Doig said.