Sydney Swans ruckman Sam Naismith will likely miss the rest of the AFL season, with scans confirming he has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
The 27-year-old sustained the serious knee injury late in the Swans’ 28-point loss to the Western Bulldogs at the SCG on Thursday night.
It continues Naismith’s horror run since injuring the same knee at training in 2018, with the subsequent knee reconstruction and ensuing complications keeping him out for two full seasons.
Thursday night’s match was the first time Naismith had played since his sister Kristi died from pancreatic cancer, with the Swans donning a black armband in her memory.
“It [knee injury] is terrible news for Sam and really disappointing for the team,” Swans general manager of football Charlie Gardiner said in a statement.
“He will see a surgeon next week and we will then lay out next steps from there.
Naismith’s comeback was the feel-good story of round one, marking 919 days between AFL matches.
But it was short-lived, as COVID-19 brought the 2020 season crashing to a halt in March and a sore hamstring saw him held out for the first two matches since the restart.
“He came back and played round one, played really well, then in the break he lost his sister. Then he comes back and does his knee,” Swans coach John Longmire said on Thursday night.
“We need to be with him and look after him. Because he’s had a terrible run, in a number of ways. We need to look after him.”
Naismith made his AFL debut in 2014 and was a member of the Swans’ grand final squad two years later when they lost to the Bulldogs in the season decider.