CARLTON defender Caleb Marchbank has ruptured the ACL in his left knee in what is another devastating blow for the intercepting half-back, who has already been sidelined since July 2019 through a number of injury issues.
Marchbank will now miss the remainder of the season, having suffered the knee injury in the first quarter of his return to football through the VFL with Carlton's reserves on Saturday.
The 24-year-old had already missed almost two successive years of football, having not played since midway through the 2019 season after suffering a non-displaced fracture of the vertebrae in his neck against Melbourne.
A slow recovery from bone bruising in his knee then ruled out Marchbank out for the entirety of last season, before a calf injury sustained in the summer kept him sidelined for the first three games of 2021.
He returned via the VFL on Saturday, but hurt his knee in the first quarter of Carlton's loss to Box Hill with scan results on Sunday morning confirming the unfortunate nature of the blow.
"Caleb has been through an incredible amount of adversity and the way he has dealt with it all is a testament to his quality as a person as well as a professional," the club's head of football Brad Lloyd said.
"There is no denying football can be unfair sometimes, especially considering how hard Caleb had worked to get his body right to play his best football once again.
"As disappointed as we all are, it does not change our belief in Caleb and the unwavering support we will provide him every step of the way through his rehabilitation and we’re sure that support will be echoed by our members and supporters."
Marchbank has played just 48 games of senior football – 41 for Carlton and seven for Greater Western Sydney – in the seven seasons after he was recruited to the Giants with pick No.6 in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft.