Matildas captain Sam Kerr has suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during a mid-season camp in Morocco. The multi-time Golden Boot winner was training with club team Chelsea when she suffered the injury, which is likely to put her out of contention for the 2024 Paris Olympics in July.
The Australian women’s football team is yet to qualify for the Games, with a win in the upcoming match against world no.47 Uzbekistan to ensure a Paris birth. In a statement, Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson said the loss of their inspirational forward and captain would be a ‘devastating’ blow to the Matilda’s Olympic campaign.
“Considering how hard Sam has worked over the past six months to return to play, this news is a devastating blow for everyone,” Gustavsson said.” With her ability to lead by example, Sam’s guidance and influence on the team is significant and, as a result, this will be an incredible loss for the national team. Our focus now is on ensuring she has all the support she wants and needs to navigate recovery and rehab.”
At this stage, the severity of Kerr’s injury is still unknown, however, Chelsea confirmed that she would be “assessed by a specialist in the coming days and then begin her rehabilitation with the club’s medical team”. Importantly, the star forward has already been ruled out of Chelsea’s future Women’s Super League (WSL) and European Champions League campaigns and won’t play the Olympic qualifier against Uzbekistan in February.
For Matildas fans, Sam Kerr’s injury brings back some uncomfortable memories. The Australian captain famously missed the group stages of the Matildas’ inspirational 2023 World Cup campaign due to a calf injury. She later returned for the knockout rounds, however, it did take some time for the rust to wear off. She spectacularly recovered with one of the goals of the tournament against England, however, it wasn’t enough to send Australia through to the final.
The football component of the Paris Olympics is set to take place from July 24 to August 10, meaning Kerr has less than seven months to get her ACL sorted. While not impossible, it would require a monumental amount of rehabilitation and support to get her up and running before then.
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