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Petracca to visit American specialist for expert advice on knee rehabilitation

Goodes trains, sub doomed, fiery Tigers Matt Thompson with Tuesday Footy Feed
Christian Petracca of the Demons is seen during the Melbourne Demons training session at TIO Traeger Park, Alice Springs on May 29, 2015. (Photo: Justine Walker/AFL Media)
Christian Petracca is excited about ramping up his knee rehabilitation
It's two sessions a day for four or five hours, so it's pretty full-on
Christian Petracca

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CHRISTIAN Petracca will take another step in his recovery from a knee reconstruction when he heads to America in September to meet with a world-renowned rehabilitation specialist.

The first-year Melbourne midfielder is set to spend a week in Philadelphia working with sports specialist Bill Knowles, having progressed through his recovery since knee surgery in February.

Petracca was encouraged to visit Knowles by Greater Western Sydney forward Jonathon Patton and Adelaide captain Taylor Walker, who both felt the benefits of Knowles' experience during their respective comebacks from knee surgeries.

The Demons are waiting on AFL approval for the trip, which is expected to come later this week, and club football manager Josh Mahoney said it would be a good opportunity for the No.2 draft pick.

"Christian is tracking very well in his recovery from his ACL operation. He is now running and introducing agility and ball work into his program," Mahoney told AFL.com.au.

"In our attempt to get the best outcome for Christian, we have been investigating opportunities to strengthen his knee further and have decided to send him to the US for an intensive five-day rehab camp which specialises in knee reconditioning.

"We believe that his camp along with the ongoing exercises is going to give Christian the best opportunity for a strong recovery and set him up for a solid pre-season."

Petracca, who looked set for a round one debut before the injury to his left knee, said he was excited to get into the heavy training. 

"[Patton and Walker] both said it's probably the best thing they did during their rehab, so I really want to go and do that and the club's allowed it," the 19-year-old told AFL.com.au.

"It's two sessions a day for four or five hours, so it's pretty full-on. He works with a lot of the NFL guys, so there'll be a lot more agility, deceleration and acceleration type of work."

Knowles has been involved with some of the world's biggest sports people, including NFL star Peyton Manning, golfer Tiger Woods and English soccer player Frank Lampard, and worked with clubs such as Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid.

Walker headed there in 2013 as he set in place his return from a season-ending injury, while Patton visited early last season. 

Injured Demons Jack Trengove and Christian Petracca chat in Alice Springs. Picture: Justine Walker

Petracca was a standout at under-18 level last year before joining the Demons, and during the pre-season impressed with his match play.

He will go on a break after the trip before returning to the club for the start of pre-season, and thinks the training away from the club will help refresh him.  

"Here if you do it you feel like you're in the same routine, but over there in a different country it's a bit different," Petracca said.

"From there that will lead me on to have a good break for four or five weeks, and then I'll be straight back into pre-season."