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Blue blow: Star ruptures ACL at training

Nathan Schmook  November 15, 2017 2:34 PM

Blues and Roos train in heat An off-season update from Footy Feed
AFL 2017 Training - Carlton 151117

Sam Docherty at training on Wednesday

CARLTON defender Sam Docherty has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in a pre-season training session on Wednesday.

The Blues said their 2016 club champion would undergo traditional surgery this week in a shocking blow for the club early in its 2018 preparations.

The injury occurred in an innocuous incident at the club's training session at Princes Park on Wednesday morning.

"As we commence our pre-season campaign, the news of Sam’s injury is incredibly disappointing for everyone but foremost for Sam," football manager Andrew McKay said in a statement.

"Sam is a total professional and a resilient young man and we know he will face his rehabilitation process with the utmost dedication. 

"As a terrific young leader at our club, Sam will continue to work with the leadership group and assist in the development of our young players both on and off the field. 

"While we are incredibly disappointed by the long-term nature of Sam’s injury, it provides an opportunity for our young defenders to continue to train hard over the pre-season to solidify their spot in the backline in Sam’s absence in 2018."

Docherty has emerged as a star of the competition in the past two seasons, earning All Australian selection in 2017 and finishing second in the Blues' club champion award after winning the award in 2016.

The gun half-back averaged a career-high 27.8 possessions this year, leading the AFL in kicks (20.9) and marks (9.0), and ranking No.3 in the League for rebound 50s (5.7) and fourth for metres gained (503.9 a game).

Having played an integral role in Carlton's defensive structure and high-possession game, the 24-year-old was eyeing an expanded midfield role next season.

"The last couple of years down back's been pretty pleasing, but I played a bit of midfield time this year, so I think there's scope to develop that part of my game," Docherty told AFL.com.au after earning All Australian selection in September.

Docherty played 13 games for the Brisbane Lions in 2013 after being drafted with pick No.12 in the 2011 NAB AFL Draft.

He was traded to Carlton at the end of 2013 and has played 79 games for the Blues, improving every season.