Surgery could end Thorn's playing days

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 15/04/2014
brad thorn
PHOTOSPORT
NOT RETURNING: Former All Black lock Brad Thorn is heading back overseas and won't feature for the Highlanders next season.

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Brad Thorn's playing days with the Highlanders could be over.

The legendary former rugby league player and rugby union stalwart is expected to be ruled out for the remainder of the 2014 Super Rugby season with a bicep injury suffered while attempting to make a tackle in the Highlanders win over the Bulls in Dunedin on Friday night.

The 39-year-old will have surgery in the next few days which could mean his days at the Highlanders - and his professional career - could be over.

In an interview with The Southland Times last month, Thorn indicated he wanted to play another season next year in either New Zealand or Europe if everything went to plan.

"It's a ridiculous age, 39, to still be playing footy, I know, [but] I feel pretty good, I still feel like I can mix it and I'll just see how it goes," he said at the time.

"I turn 40 in February and that's been my goal, to play top level at 40 and then I'm out, I'm finished. That will either be here or in Europe, I'd suggest.

"It's a great challenge, but it may not happen.

"If I feel like I've had enough at the end of this year, then I'll call it a day this year, but that's where I'm heading."

It's questionable whether Thorn can come back from the latest setback and he has also been in and out of the Highlanders team through the opening rounds on form.

Highlanders boss Roger Clark said yesterday that he had not spoken to Thorn on the chances of him playing next year.

He said he had been told Thorn was extremely gutted by the prospect of missing the rest of the season.

A possible replacement had not been discussed, Clark said.

RUGBY LEAGUE NRL Brisbane Broncos – 200 games State of Origin Queensland – 14 games International rugby league Australia – 12 games RUGBY Super Rugby Crusaders – 92 games Highlanders - 21 games NPC Canterbury – 30 games Tasman – 1 Europe rugby Leinster – 8 games International rugby New Zealand – 60 games 

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- Fairfax Media

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