Will Walker has opened up about the challenges of missing over a year of football, as he looks to make his long-awaited return to running in the coming weeks.
It was back in Round 22, 2018, when Walker landed awkwardly flying for a mark against Adelaide; the result, a hyper-extension of the left knee, a partial PCL tear, a depression fracture of the tibia and a joint capsule tear.
An injury originally slated for a recovery period in the “12-15 week range”, ultimately keeping the talented utility out for the past 12 months.
“Probably around January or February (2019) I started running again over ground, started to build up my loads, doing decent sized sessions, then had some soreness in the tibia,” Walker revealed on the Powershop Players Podcast.
“I just had the general check-up to make sure everything was fine and it came back with a stress reaction and almost a stress fracture in the tibia. That knocked my season out straight away, about two weeks from round one.”
Just four games into his AFL career, Walker had already shown plenty of promise.
He’d hit the scoreboard in three of those matches, and his first quarter against the Crows had been particularly impressive.
So after an already long recovery process, a setback was hard to take.
“It was almost like pushing your life back six months, because I’d just rehabbed that same injury and same spot for six months,” Walker said.
“I was starting to think about round one, round two and then to find out you’ve got a stress reaction in your tibia and you basically get pushed back to August last year, it was pretty disappointing.”
Only 19 at the time, Walker's maturity was nothing short of impressive.
“I was pretty frustrated for a while, but I guess there are worse things in life,” he said.
“I’m in a pretty great position here at the footy club. I get looked after pretty well and the doctors take great care of me.”
That attitude held the Roos’ number 27 in good stead, as he again began the road to recovery.
Now, there’s light at the end of the tunnel; running over ground not too far away.
“Hopefully I’ll start that in the next few weeks,” Walker said.
“We’ve taken a very slow and cautious approach this time around, just to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“Fingers crossed I’ll start running in a few weeks outside, and then we’ll build from there for hopefully around Christmas-time, pre-season, so that’ll be awesome.”
Listen to the full Powershop Players Podcast below.
The Walker interview begins at around 14.50.