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Richmond coach Adam Yze has admitted that he Manage Dustin Martin for the remainder of the AFL season after the Tigers champion suffered back problems on Sunday. Martin played a part in the Tigers’ second quarter comeback against Carlton at the MCG, but suffered back spasms in the third quarter and had to be taken out of the game.

The 33-year-old, whose Future after this season still uncertainfinished the 20.11 (131) to 10.10 (70) defeat with just seven possessions – the lowest tally of his 301-game career. It was also the first time he was substituted in a game.

Dustin Martin, pictured here after being substituted during Richmond's clash with Carlton.Dustin Martin, pictured here after being substituted during Richmond's clash with Carlton.

Dustin Martin was substituted out of Richmond’s game against Carlton due to back problems. Image: Getty

“He just tensed up,” Yze said after the game. “He tried to go out there one more time and just fought, so it was just pointless.”

“I’m not sure he’s ever been substituted before, but against a team as good as Carlton you need 18 fit guys. For him to put his hand up and say his back is a bit too sore is a credit to him.”

Dustin Martin, pictured here, receives treatment on his back.Dustin Martin, pictured here, receives treatment on his back.

Dustin Martin received treatment on his back but was unable to continue. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Yze had previously indicated he would like to give Martin a rest upon his return from the off-season, with Richmond set to take a few short breaks ahead of interstate clashes with Fremantle and Port Adelaide over the next three weeks. Martin will get a day off before returning to Punt Road on Tuesday for further assessment before facing the Dockers at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.

“Whether that’s a reason he has to sit out because he’s got a tight back now – our cards could be dealt anyway,” Yze said. “If he comes through the game well, there’s no reason he can’t play against Freo. We just need to have those conversations and think about that more than anything else.”

Dustin Martin during Richmond's loss to Carlton.Dustin Martin during Richmond's loss to Carlton.

Dustin Martin could be out at various points for the remainder of the AFL season. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Martin struggled with calf problems earlier this season and Yze said the recent setback with his back was “coincidental.” “He probably hurt his knee out there and didn’t know,” the coach said.

“He’s a competitive player and actually helped us with the center bounce in the second quarter. We missed him in the second half when he went out of the game. Hopefully he’s OK.”

Richmond has been forced to field 41 players this season due to injuries – more than any other club. Premiership midfielder Dion Prestia (calf) could return against Fremantle, but Tom Lynch (thigh) is unlikely.


Martin wasn’t the only high-profile player to suffer an injury on Sunday. Hawthorn lost captain James Sicily. Hawthorn’s fifth consecutive win came at a high price, with Sicily dislocating his shoulder again in his team’s 61-point win over West Coast at Optus Stadium.

Sicily has had problems with his right shoulder in the past, which he also dislocated earlier this season. “It feels quite good now. At the beginning it was a bit painful, a bit harmless,” he told Fox Sports. “I’m not sure what to think about it yet, we’ll deal with it tomorrow.”

with AAP