Nathan Lovett-Murray. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
Nathan Lovett-Murray has been told to rest for a week while his stab wounds heal, but remains intent on attending the AFL's Indigenous Dreamtime match on Saturday.
Though unable to take part in the tribute game following a violent dispute late on Tuesday that is now the subject of a Victoria Police investigation, the Essendon footballer is determined to attend the MCG and watch two of his sons play in an Auskick match at half-time.
Lovett-Murray was interviewed by police in hospital on Wednesday and is believed to have described how he was the victim of an unprovoked attacked. While the 30-year-old was playing down his injuries to friends he was put under a general anaesthetic to have minor surgery on his upper arm. He lost considerable blood in the altercation.
''When I asked him about it he said he'd only had a couple of stitches. But I doubt that. He was only trying to be brave,'' Lovett-Murray's manager, Peter Jess, told Fairfax Media on Wednesday.
''He would expect to be back at the club tomorrow … and hope to progress back into the club [properly] at some stage in the next week. The prognosis that has come back is fairly good. What they're saying is that he needs at least a day or so of rest and then he can ease himself back into training next week. He's a very tough and resilient person, but being stabbed in any context is not a good thing.
''The Dreamtime game is one of the most significant days in indigenous sporting culture and he wants to be there. And he wants to see his sons play in Auskick.''
It remained unclear on Wednesday whether Lovett-Murray was attacked by the former partner of Lovett-Murray's girlfriend, or by another party. Fairfax Media has been told that Lovett-Murray's girlfriend had an apprehended violence order against her former partner, designed to protect her from violence, threats and harassment.
It is not the first time Lovett-Murray has been embroiled in domestic controversy. Police had concerns about Lovett-Murray's associations when he was charged in 2009 with drug possession after an ecstasy tablet was discovered in a search of his home.
The raid on the residence that Lovett-Murray shared at the time followed police action in Melbourne and regional Victoria that led to five men being charged with offences including drug trafficking, possessing firearms and possessing proceeds of crime. Cash, firearms, amphetamines and steroids were seized in the wider police operation after an eight-month investigation into a drug syndicate.
Lovett-Murray - who offered to undergo blood, hair and urine testing at the time to prove he was not a drug user - contested his charge and the case was dismissed in a Melbourne magistrates court.
Essendon chief executive Ian Robson said on Wednesday that Lovett-Murray's stabbing had sent ''a shiver down the spine'' of the football club and Bombers coach James Hird was among those who visited the 143-game player in hospital.