Carlton young gun Sam Walsh is set to miss the start of the AFL season after being sidelined with an ankle injury.
The midfielder is expected to sit out at least the first month of the season after suffering a syndesmosis injury in his ankle.
Walsh suffered the injury after being tackled during match simulation and after consulting specialist advice, it was confirmed he would have to undergo surgery.
“It is obviously disappointing news for Sam,” Carlton head of football Brad Lloyd said.
“He’d completed every session so far over the summer but unfortunately these incidents are a part of footy. Sam will throw everything into his rehab and his teammates will continue to do the same for the start of the season.
“Sam leads from the front with his professionalism and commitment every day he walks through the doors of the footy club and there’s no doubt he will take the same approach to his recovery over the coming weeks.
“We’ll continue to assess Sam throughout his recovery, at this stage we expect him to be available to play again after the first month of the season has been complete.
“There has been some real competition for spots in that midfield group over the summer so we look forward to seeing who puts their hand up and takes their chance over the coming weeks.”
The injury is a huge blow to the Blues, who are looking to rise up the ladder in 2022 and make the finals for the first time since 2013.
Walsh has quickly emerged as arguably Carlton’s best and most important player after being taken with the No. 1 draft pick in 2018.
He has played 61 consecutive games to start his career, which has seen him claim the AFL’s Rising Star award in his first season as well as All Australian honours during a breakout season last year.
Walsh won Carlton’s best and fairest and finished fourth in the Brownlow Medal in 2021, polling an astonishing 30 votes.