Sam Smith has now met with NT Thunder’s club doctor from Territory Sportsmedicine, where it was confirmed that he has a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee following a rather innocuous incident during last Saturday’s NTFL game between the Darwin Buffaloes and Southern Districts.
In good news, there is no damage to the medial collateral ligament (MCL) nor any damage to the cartilage in the knee.
Smith will undertake some prehab exercises to build strength in the leg and quad area, and once the swelling to the area goes down, he will undergo surgery, which is likely to be in the next few weeks.
It is expected he will need some recovery time before returning to light duties and a prescribed post-operation rehabilitation and strength routine.
NT Thunder Manager Andrew Hodges said it was shattering for the young star, but they’ve already discussed plans on how to keep him involved with the program and Club.
“Sammy has been in fantastic form the past two years across NTFL and NEAFL, he was about to hit his peak, so when the doctor delivered the news, we were all devastated.
“But if there’s one thing anyone knows about Sam Smith it’s that he will face this challenge head-on and smash it. He will come back bigger, better and stronger and he has a solid support network at the Crocs, Thunder and home to help him through.
“A number of the Thunder boys know what this feels like and have bounced back, so they’ll be sharing their learnings with Sam too.
“It’s still early days but being sidelined will provide Sam with a great opportunity to refine the leadership and mentoring skills he was starting to develop and I know the coach, Darren is keen to have him involved with the coaching group, ” he said.
The doctor told Smith that the full timeline for his recovery is hard to predict, but they usually signal it as 12 months before a return to playing.
Smith thanked the community for their support.
“It’s not been a fun few days, but it has been made a lot more bearable thanks to the far and wide support I’ve received from not only my friends and teammates but from opposition players, coaches and people who seem to care.
“I want to thank them for their kind words already and for what I’m sure is to come.
“This is not the worst thing to happen on the footy field, and I remind myself of that, it’s just the challenge I’ve been dealt, and so I look forward to coming back even better for it,” he said.