Newcastle Jets coach Ernie Merrick says skipper Nigel Boogaard’s virtual season-ending injury won’t affect their contract negotiations with the defender.
Boogaard, 31, limped off late in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Sydney FC, with scans confirming the extent of the damage.
Merrick confirmed the central defender’s 2017/18 season was practically over, due to a fractured tibia and torn calf which will see him miss six to 10 weeks.
Boogaard is out of contract at season’s end, but Merrick confirmed the Jets wanted to keep him.
“His contract negotiations will continue,” Merrick said.
“It’ll make no difference to those. We want to keep him at this club.”
Merrick added: “He’s had a great year. He and Nikolai as the centre of our defence, their stats this year have been better than any pair in the league.”
The Scotsman explained there was some slight glimmer of hope that Boogaard could return to play in the finals.
“It’s a six-to-10-week injury,” he said.
“It’s unlikely, but there’s a very small chance, he could play in the finals.
“He doesn’t need an operation and he’s gone straight into rehabilitation.
“The good news is there’s no damage to the articular surface of the knee, nor has the ACL been damaged.
“If either had been damaged it would’ve been very bad and he would’ve been out for a very long time.”
The Jets boss said Boogaard would be missed.
“He’s very good technically and strategically,” Merrick said.
“He’s a good on-field leader. He’s a good person to have around on and off field at the club.”
Merrick said Lachlan Jackson was the obvious choice to replace Boogaard for the remainder of the season.