Chelsea Women: Sam Kerr picks up an ACL injury at training camp in Morocco

With the conclusion to the winter break on the horizon, Chelsea Women announced some devasting injury news to its star striker.
Real Madrid CF v Chelsea FC Women: Group D - UEFA Women's Champions League 2023/24
Real Madrid CF v Chelsea FC Women: Group D - UEFA Women's Champions League 2023/24 / Angel Martinez/GettyImages

Just when you thought the Chelsea men's and women's injury lists could not get any bigger, the club dropped news a fan would probably dream in a nightmare. It wasn't a contract extension, that would be featured in more of a pleasant dream. Sam Kerr, the contributor to a team-leading 12 goals across both the Women's Super League and UEFA Women's Champions League has sustained an ACL injury. The club said that she will be assessed by a specialist in the coming days and begin rehab.

The announcement was made by the club on Sunday afternoon while the Blues were still at warm weather training in Morocco ahead of next Sunday's FA Cup match vs. West Ham United. BBC expressed that Kerr and the club were working on a contract extension. This injury should by no means effect the club's desire to extend her through the end of next summer. As for her time under Emma Hayes---that chapter is expected to have closed.

Sam Kerr's devesting injury news amps up the pressure on the entire attacking unit for Chelsea Women

The timetable of return, like most ACL injuries is completely unknown. With the transfer window still open, it gives Paul Green some time to potentially bring in another threat going forward. Even if Catarina Macario is far off from her return, the club could still test the market.

No one person can replace the Australian. It's a group effort. Her contributions go far beyond goal-scoring. Whether it is her leadership, hold-up play, or mentality, you cannot underestimate how large of a blow this is to the club's hopes of breaking through in Europe this season. Add to that winning five straight league titles. 53 goals over the past three campaigns in the English top-flight speaks for itself.

Still, we've still seen this group succeed in front of the net without her so far. With Kerr watching as a substitute away at Aston Villa early this season, Emma Hayes' crew put up six on the road. That is still the most goals the Blues have amassed in a single fixture since October. Tony Gustavsson, the Australia's National Team Head Coach, expressed his thoughts on the news:

“Considering how hard Sam has worked over the past six months to return to play, this news is a devastating blow for everyone."

This is where the depth comes in. It's not only about Mia Fishel, and Fran Kirby. Johanna Rytting Kaneryd and Lauren James will be looked at to add to their goal tally up front. Fishel could be looked at to carry the majority of the load due to the price tag over the summer and Macario's injury. In 2022/2023 in Mexico, the "Big Fish" secured the Apertura Golden Boot by scoring 17 times in 17 fixtures. It's time to let her swim. Forget about the transfer market. Defense is the priority. Fishel, the lifelong Chelsea fan should get the nod up front regularly.

Just a few days ago, the club posted a video of Kerr and Guro Reiten speaking on the team's first training in the sun of the African nation. Kerr was her normal self, shouting, "suns out, guns out" behind Reiten who was recording. She was just getting back to her normal self fitness-wise following the World Cup, and was just one goal away from 100 in her Chelsea career. You can't get much more cruel than that in women's football. The team will depart Morocco with two of its main leaders now on the sideline.

We at the PoL wish Sam all the best in her recovery and hope that this continues to open the eyes for even more research to be done on women and ACL injuries.