Matildas captain Sam Kerr ruled out of Paris Olympics

Sam Kerr been ruled out of the Paris Games after undergoing a knee reconstruction.

Sam Kerr been ruled out of the Paris Games after undergoing a knee reconstruction. Photo: Getty

Hopes of Sam Kerr making a comeback to lead the Matildas at the Olympic Games in Paris have suffered a final blow after the star striker was officially ruled out.

Captain Kerr and fellow attacker Amy Sayer were both confirmed to be out of the Games after undergoing knee reconstructions.

Football Australia confirmed the devastating news on Tuesday.

Kerr’s teammates said her significant knee injury required lengthy rehab that would keep her off the field.

“We want Sam to be as fit and healthy as she can, and for her that’s taking her time with this injury. It’s a major injury,” said Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams.

“(Sam’s) in rehab right now and that’s the most important thing that she focuses on.”

Kerr injured her ACL during a mid-season training camp with her English club Chelsea in January, ruling her out of the rest of the Women’s Super League season and Australia’s Olympic qualifying campaign.

With the Paris Olympics kicking off in July, Kerr had just over six months to rehabilitate and recover from the injury.

On the weekend, Kerr was also forced to watch from the sidelines as Chelsea won the English Women’s Super League for the fifth successive year with a thumping 6-0 triumph over Manchester United.

Kerr received her winner’s medal on the pitch at Old Trafford.

The Australian’s serious knee injury is among those being looked at as ACL tears come under the microscope in women’s sport.

A growing chorus of female soccer players have called for research into anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, with women said to be between two and six times more likely to suffer the injury than men.

Project ACL hopes to reduce such injuries in the women’s game.

Meanwhile influential defender Clare Hunt has overcome injury and returns to a Matildas squad still without Katrina Gorry who remains in doubt for the looming Olympics.

Hunt has overcome a foot stress fracture and is in the Matildas’ 23-player squad for two friendlies against China on May 31 in Adelaide and June 3 in Sydney.

And Gorry, who had ankle surgery last month, is in a race against time for the Olympics starting in late July.

Gorry and Aivi Luik (hamstring) will miss the matches against a Chinese side coached by former Matildas coach Ante Milicic.

But current Matildas boss Tony Gustavsson hopes both will be available for Olympic selection.

“I think everyone can do the math here and understand that obviously the Olympic roster will be based mostly out of those that are in this upcoming May/June camp,” Gustavsson said on Tuesday.

“However we also have some players in Katrina and Aivi unavailable for selection for this window but most likely will be physically available to be part of an Olympic roster.

“This window will be a tough one for me and my staff in terms of evaluating players, where they are, and then the final selection process for Paris.”

Defender Courtney Nevin and goalkeeper Lydia Williams, who will retire from international football after the Olympics, also return to the Matildas squad after being unavailable for last month’s international window.

The squad features 21 of 23 players who helped Australia qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics, with 17 international-based players and six home-based, including Cortnee Vine and Jada Whyman from A-League Women title winners Sydney FC.

“The squad we have named … is based on their performances for their respective clubs and also in our national team environment,” Gustavsson said.

“Some players are selected based on past performances, in tournaments and in previous camps, while others are chosen for their current strong form.

“With the Olympics approaching, selection is about seeing the overall picture over four years of performance and assembling the best team possible.”

The squad for the Olympics will be announced in June.

Australia’s squad for two-game China series

Steph Catley (capt), Mackenzie Arnold, Ellie Carpenter, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Sharn Freier, Charlotte Grant, Winonah Heatley, Michelle Heyman, Clare Hunt, Alanna Kennedy, Teagan Micah, Courtney Nevin, Clare Polkinghorne, Hayley Raso, Kaitlyn Torpey, Emily van Egmond, Cortnee Vine, Clare Wheeler, Jada Whyman, Lydia Williams, Tameka Yallop.

-with AAP

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