And with just five rounds to play until the major round, the dazzling goalsneak – who has emerged as a star midfielder this season – may not see AFL action again before the major round if he has to rebuild fitness through the SANFL on his return.
But there is a chance he could be available in as little as a fortnight, with the club confirming he will miss two to four weeks with a high ankle sprain sustained in the Power’s weekend loss to Melbourne.
That could see him return against Collingwood in Round 21, but he will almost certainly miss the looming Showdown against crosstown rivals Adelaide.
Port Adelaide’s head physiotherapist Tim McGrath said his high performance team would assess Wingard each week before making a call on his return to running.
“Chad had scans on Monday, which confirmed a high ankle sprain, so he’ll miss somewhere between two and four weeks in rehab,” he said.
“We’ll take a no-risk approach with his injury, so will assess him week-to-week before he starts running again.”
The loss to the Demons saw Port drop to fifth spot on the ladder.
Assistant coach Nathan Bassett said yesterday Wingard’s brilliance can’t be replaced for their home game against St Kilda on Saturday.
“The last month he has been very good and he’s not someone you can replace,” Bassett told reporters.
“Someone else gets to play. But they are not going to bring the same skill set that Chad has.”
Bassett said wholesale changes were unlikely at Port in the wake of the loss, with faith to be shown in club leaders to respond.
“There are more runs on the board,” he said.
“Ollie Wines, Brad Ebert, Paddy Ryder – they have had excellent seasons.
“Paddy hasn’t got beaten in the ruck too often, but he certainly got beaten in the first half at the weekend.
“So we would expect a response from those guys and in general we have responded very well all year to a loss.
“What we want to be is better than a response footy club.”
Port’s loss continued to the Demons continued a theme – they haven’t won three in a row in almost two seasons.
“We are no doing it for long enough, are we,” Bassett said.
“We have not been a good footy team for long enough, that is probably where we at – do it for longer.”
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