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Pendlebury given medical clearance to face the Giants

Scott Pendlebury is likely to take the field against the Giants - Collingwood Magpies,GWS Giants
Scott Pendlebury is likely to take the field against the Giants

Courageous Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury has been given medical clearance to lead the Magpies in their big encounter with Greater Western Sydney at Giants Stadium on Saturday.

Pendlebury suffered a broken middle finger in his left hand in the Magpies' inspirational one-point win over reigning premier West Coast at Optus Stadium on Friday night and underwent surgery the next day.

It was initially feared the champion midfielder could miss a month or more, but he trained strongly on Thursday and handled the ball well while wearing a guard to protect his injured finger.

Pendlebury, who boasts a strong track record of playing with injuries and last missed a game in round eight last year, now seems a strong chance to take the field for his 294th game on Saturday.

"He got the all-clear from the surgeon this morning in regard to the wound itself, so it'll just be a case of whether he feels he can complete everything that he needs to, or be able to handle what the game's going to ask of him," Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said on Thursday.

"As I was talking to him about it before training, there's a difference of injuries in-game and going in with an injury, because you just get it done when they happen in-game. So it's a slight different mentality. 

"If he plays he'll be free to do everything, and if he misses it'll be because he's not."

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The second-placed Pies will also be boosted by the return of star duo Taylor Adams (adductor) and Jeremy Howe (calf), both of whom are "right to go" after being sidelined for 10 weeks and three weeks respectively.

There is already one readymade vacancy given key defender Darcy Moore has been sidelined with what Buckley explained was a "relatively minor" hamstring issue that "probably takes away that last 10 or 15 per cent of top-end capacity". 

Among a raft of superb performers against the Eagles was dashing left-footer Jack Crisp, who nullified the brilliant Luke Shuey and generated enormous run himself. A similar role would seemingly beckon against the talented Giants, but Buckley said the versatile Crisp would only be assigned such roles on a "horses for courses" basis.

Buckley also revealed veteran Daniel Wells, who is back involved in some skills drills, was "ahead of schedule" in his bid to make a late-season return from a posterior cruciate ligament injury in his left knee, which he sustained in his long-awaited AFL return in the win over Sydney at the SCG in round 10.

The Pies have won each of their three games on the road this season and have a 3-1 record against GWS at Giants Stadium, the one blemish being by just three points in round eight, 2017.