The Collingwood Football Club’s revolutionary new rehab program has hit an embarrassing snag, after news broke yesterday that midfielder Brayden Sier had been recovering from a calf injury by playing domestic basketball at the Diamond Valley Stadium. As the story circulated last night, The Watsonia Bugle was inundated with messages from readers asking whether Sier’s on-court appearance makes him the second highest profile athlete to play basketball at the revered venue.

Unfortunately for Sier, he might not even be in the top 10 most famous mid-week basketballers to grace the courts at Diamond Valley Stadium, with NBA All-Star Ben Simmons the obvious choice for number one, followed by an array of former AFL footballers including Dale Weightman, Damian Monkhorst, and Blake Caracella. However, the relative prominence of these athletes is not really at question here, the most pressing issue is why a professional footballer was playing mid-week basketball while recovering from an injury.

While most observers would presume that Collingwood were unaware of Sier’s Monday night extra-curricular activities, one source close to the club has revealed that the midfielders involvement was actually part of a radical new rehab strategy. Faced with an ever-increasing injury list with just two games remaining before the finals, it’s believed the club decided to test Sier’s repairing calf muscle in the closest competitive environment to a full-blown AFL match: a C Grade Monday night basketball game at Diamond Valley.

According to our source, Collingwood “figured it was a good way to ease our injured players back into a highly competitive athletic environment. These can be hard to find outside of sanctioned AFL or VFL games, so decided to test him out in the cauldron that is Diamond Valley Stadium. To be honest, when you’re a professional athlete, the biggest risk for injury in that case would be a stray elbow or something, and most of our players have heads like a half-chewed Mintie, so we figured it was a marginal risk at best.”

While such comments could be seen as a gross underestimation of athletic requirements on local mid-week basketball, it seems the public outing of this program will bring the short-lived plan to an abrupt close. The source said, “I think they’ve realised it was a bad idea. I mean, it’s Melbourne. Footballers can’t even order a low-fat chai latte in this town without it making the news. In hindsight, they made a poor decision.”

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