Naismith facing another year out after cruel injury blow

Sydney ruckman Sam Naismith will undergo a third knee reconstruction after being dealt another massive injury setback which has left his playing future in the balance.

The latest blow has come in incredibly cruel circumstances for Naismith, who was just two games into his comeback from an anterior cruciate ligament tear sustained last season.

Swans ruckman Sam Naismith will undergo a third knee reconstruction due to a graft failure from last year’s surgery.Credit:Getty

The Swans sought the advice of multiple specialists to give him the best chance of returning to the top level, and it was decided he required another knee reconstruction.

Naismith, who turns 29 next month, is expected to miss 15-16 months of football, which effectively rules him out until the end of next season. He is due to come out of contract at the end of 2022.

The 206 cm ruckman’s career has been littered with a raft of injuries which have restricted him to just 30 of a possible 152 games since his senior debut in round 23, 2014. He had been eyeing a senior return the week after the bye.

He was so highly rated by the Swans they opted to keep him ahead of Toby Nankervis, who has won three premierships since leaving the club for Richmond.

“We are incredibly disappointed for Sam after all of the hard work he has put in to his rehabilitation over the past 12 months,” the Swans head of football Charlie Gardiner said.

“He has left no stone unturned in his efforts to get back to play and after a largely uninterrupted rehabilitation program, we were all looking forward to seeing him return in the back half of the year.

“Unfortunately, due to this latest setback that won’t be possible. However, we know Sam remains hungry and committed to getting back doing what he loves and we will do everything possible to help him achieve that.”

The Swans’ rise in 2021 is giving Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson hope his team will not be staying near the bottom of the ladder for much longer.Credit:Getty

Naismith last month spoke of the importance of the support he received from the Swans and the wider AFL community as he recovered from last year’s injury. Sadly, he may need the same support again.

The Swans face Hawthorn at the SCG on Friday night in a game pitting two of the heavyweights from the 2010s.

After two years out of the finals, the Swans have emerged as a September contender this year but the 17th-placed Hawks appear destined for another bottom-four finish.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said the Swans’ rapid rise provided hope for clubs near the bottom.

“It’s an exciting thing to use Sydney as a model,” Clarkson said. “I don’t think there was a footy critic in the land that had Sydney in the eight this year. They won their first four or five games on the emergence of some young kids who they didn’t think were going to be ready just yet; they thought they’d be great players but were they ready to make a contribution?

“I think the footy world was surprised how quickly they were able to do it. That’s the excitement for Hawthorn and other clubs is that it can happen very, very quickly if you get all your ducks in a row.

“That’s the exact process we’re going through. It’s the reason we’re debuting young players and giving them the opportunity to play. With some sort of luck then our process happens to be quicker than otherwise. Sydney have done it very, very well over the course of the last 12 months.”

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