Free has a rib injury, & reports suggest this could rule him out for the summer.http://www.skynews.com.au/sport/article ... 31678&vId=
Rowing star Free in doubt for London
Updated: 15:47, Thursday March 22, 2012
Olympic champion Duncan Free is in serious doubt for the London Games following a rib injury which has ruled him out of final selection trials.
Free had been earmarked to row in Australia's priority men's boat - the coxless fours - with Beijing gold-medal partner Drew Ginn, but his selection is now under a cloud.
The injury continues a horror run for 38-year-old Free whose 2012 Olympic hopes appeared to be over last May when he suffered a badly fractured leg in a cycling road accident.
With his right leg now 2.6cm shorter than the left, Free made a rapid recovery from surgery and worked his way back into peak form by last month when he recorded a personal best on an ergo machine.
His efforts had RA officials prepared to back him to join Ginn and rising Victorian stroke Josh Dunkley Smith in the men's four, with the final crew member to be decided at the trials starting on Friday in Penrith.
But a rib cartilage injury incurred in training has put Free out of action for a month, wasting precious time for a crew that hopes to end world champion Britain's 12-year domination of the men's four event.
Free has not given up hope however, saying he's determined to bounce back.
'I'm obviously very disappointed with the timing of this injury and missing the final selection trials,' Free said.
'Things were on track and I was doing some of the best ergo times I have throughout my career.
'The decision is in the hands of the selectors now and I really hope I can still be considered as I had progressed really well since the broken femur last year.'
Rowing Australia promoted Tom Swann from the men's eight to sit in Free's No.2 seat in the four this weekend, while Will Lockwood and Fergus Pragnell will compete for the other spot in the boat.
But the selectors have yet to decide whether to give the Gold Coaster, who also missed last fortnight's national titles in Perth with the injury, more time to prove his worth before their first World Cup regatta in Switzerland from May 25-27.
'Duncan's injury is an unusual one and one we will have to monitor carefully before making any decisions,' said high performance director Andrew Matheson.
'We will sit down as a group over the next few days and consider a range of possibilities, but we do not want to be rushing into any decisions.'