Take your time, James

DISASTER: Bombers captain James Hird is taken from the ground on Saturday.  
Monday, May 6
Geelong Advertiser

GEELONG'S veteran midfielder Peter Riccardi will write to stricken Essendon skipper James Hird this week as he recovers from gruesome facial and eye injuries.

Riccardi - who had surgery to repair a depressed cheek bone suffered in a match last May - will offer advice to Hird, who suffered multiple fractures to his eye socket, radiating into other areas of his face.

Hird will remain in Perth for more than a week after undergoing three hours of surgery to repair injuries likened to those from high-speed car accidents.

Hird sustained the damage in Saturday's loss to Fremantle when he was running with the flight of the ball and stumbled, falling into the knee of teammate Mark McVeigh.

``If he wants me to talk to him, I will,'' Riccardi said last night.

``He can't fly out of Perth for five to 10 days so later in the week, I will be putting pen to paper.''

``You have to be careful that it heals properly. You have to have a fair bit of confidence before you start playing again,'' he said.

Riccardi missed just three weeks with the horrific injury sustained in last year's Mother's Day match against Carlton, but warned Hird not to rush back.

``Probably that is what I did wrong. Instead of waiting the four to six weeks I should have, I went out and played after three weeks,'' he said.

``You run around like a chook with its head cut off. You want a kick but you don't want to get hurt. ``You run around trying not to get hit but once you cop one, you're pretty much fine. Hopefully we see him back playing.''