Western Bulldogs midfielder Clay Smith will undergo a third knee reconstruction after scans revealed he has suffered a torn ACL graft during his side’s loss to St Kilda on Saturday.
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Smith was taken off the ground in the second quarter, but returned to the field after he was assessed by the club’s medical staff.
He then collapsed to the turf in pain just before the half-time break and was taken off the ground via medicab.
The Western Bulldogs have stood by its decision to allow Smith to return to the field after knowing he had suffered an injury that would require yet another knee reconstruction.
Bulldogs president Peter Gordon led a review into Smith being cleared to return to the field of play despite being told he would need a reconstruction.
A club statement said medical staff took the “appropriate” judgment to allow Smith to return to the game.
“Clay injured his knee midway through the second quarter of the game. He was taken off the ground and into the rooms where he was assessed both clinically and functionally by one of the club’s doctors and also by its senior physiotherapist,” the statement read.
“Clinical assessment at this point revealed the graft from Clay’s last knee reconstruction to have ruptured.
“Despite this, Clay had no pain or swelling and maintained that his knee felt fine and he was assessed to be able to cope functionally in running, jumping, twisting and weaving maneuvers.
“Clay was informed that despite his knee’s functionality, he would need reconstruction surgery and would be out for a prolonged period.
Clay expressed his strong desire to return to the field of play.
“The club’s medical staff permitted him to do so on the basis of their clinical judgment that because the graft had already ruptured, the prospect of it being made worse by a second incident was an acceptable risk.”
Smith was taken at pick 17 of the 2011 AFL draft but has since played just 30 games due to injury issues.