Crusaders careful with Read
The Crusaders are making no apologies for taking a conservative approach to managing Kieran Read's return to Super 15 action.
The New Zealand number eight was ruled out of the Crusaders' match against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane on Sunday after suffering concussion following a blow to the jaw in the win against the Chiefs on April 19.
The Crusaders had a bye the following week but Read also missed last week's 40-20 win over the Brumbies as he continued to experience symptoms.
It was his second concussion in a month after he came off with a head knock in the loss to the Hurricanes at the end of March and missed the following game against the Lions in Johannesburg.
Crusaders doctor Deb Robinson admitted the fact he had suffered two in quick succession had been a factor in the decision to leave him out for this weekend's trip to Brisbane.
"I was definitely more conservative because it was his second knock within a month," she said. "We are aware he's got a lot of rugby to play this year and so we want to look after him well."
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said he had made the decision to omit Read on Monday.
"Rather than wait for him and wait for Wednesday and wait for Friday to see whether he comes through, I just thought it was easier and better to get on the front foot and just make a decision. We believe it's the right one," Blackadder said.
"What the research is telling us is that they can have long-term problems if you don't deal with them seriously. We never want to put anyone at risk.
"This is a game. People have got to live the rest of their lives and we want them to be in good health. So if we do get on the front foot and manage it really well then Read will get back playing next week and may never another episode the rest of his life.
"But if we keep treating the symptoms all the time and he get another knock and he's not quite right and we play him as soon as he's available then we could put his career in jeopardy and no-one wants to do that."
Read has stepped up his recovery in the past few days and had his first run on Wednesday morning.
He hopes to be available for the Sharks game a week on Saturday but acknowledged his latest concussion had left family and friends concerned.
"Certainly it's a worrying injury any time you get one," he said. "But if you do the process right and you are honest in how you're feeling then I know Deb is going to look after me and make sure that I get back on the field and 100 per cent ready to go."