Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Netball: Easy-does-it approach to Williams' return

Casey Williams. Photo / Getty Images
Casey Williams. Photo / Getty Images

She admits she makes a horrible spectator, but Silver Ferns captain Casey Williams may have to get used to sitting on the sidelines.

The inspirational defender was a late scratching for yesterday's Constellation Cup opener in Melbourne after pulling up with a sore knee following their final training run in Melbourne.

With coach Waimarama Taumaunu not wanting to take any chances with one of New Zealand netball's most precious commodities, Williams' return to international netball was put on ice.

Williams has not played a test since last year's world championships final, after sitting out the end-of-year tests against England and Australia as she recovered from minor ankle surgery.

The super-competitive defender has battled knee and ankle problems throughout her career and Taumaunu said in the interests of Williams' career longevity, she is not prepared to take any risks with her captain.

"If it had been the final of the world championships she would have played but it's not, it's the beginning of a long international programme so we've taken a conservative approach with her," said Taumaunu.

The New Zealand coach hopes to have Williams back in action for the second test in Auckland on Thursday but said she is not prepared to rush her recovery. "We're going to monitor it but I'll probably continue to be conservative about it," she said.

Taumaunu's comments suggest that Williams' workload will be carefully managed over the international season, with the star defender likely to sit out some of the less-crucial games during next month's quad series with Australia, England and South Africa.

A bundle of nerves on the sideline, Williams could not sit still throughout the tight contest, springing to action whenever there was a stoppage to deliver instructions to the team.

- NZ Herald

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