Bulldogs optimistic with Liberatore injury

The Western Bulldogs are hopeful midfielder Tom Liberatore hasn't damaged knee ligaments.
The Western Bulldogs are hopeful midfielder Tom Liberatore hasn't damaged knee ligaments.

The Western Bulldogs are optimistic that important midfielder Tom Liberatore has avoided a serious knee injury after he was an early casualty in their stunning win over Carlton.

Liberatore pulled up when chasing Kade Simpson early in the second term on Saturday night at Marvel Stadium and struggled to the bench then down the race.

He was unable to return to the field where his teammates pulled off a gutsy 15.13 (103) to 15.10 (100) win, sparking fears he may have ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament for the third time.

"He jarred it, but we're optimistic he hasn't damaged any of the ligaments," coach Luke Beveridge said.

"So he will have a scan and we'll give you some more on that when we get the detail.

"I think his quad is alright, but there's a little bit of concern there might be some cartilage damage from the jarring but once we get the results back of the scan, we'll feed that through."

Liberatore missed the entire 2015 season recovering from a knee reconstruction and didn't feature after round one last season after suffering the same fate.

The Bulldogs twice led by 34 points on Saturday night but couldn't shake the determined Blues, who led by seven points late in the third quarter and kicked the last five goals of the game only to fall short.

The tight win that improved their record to 5-7 could prove vital to the Dogs' season.

"(Finals) are probably the farthest thing from my mind," Beveridge said.

"What are we 5-7? We're a mile away from finals.

"We've had a handful of encouraging wins throughout the course of the year, but you've just got to reload every week."

The Bulldogs will look to improve on 14th spot on the ladder when they face high-fliers Collingwood at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.

Australian Associated Press