Carlton superstar Sam Walsh ruled out indefinitely with back injury

Carlton midfielder Sam Walsh is sidelined indefinitely with a back injury and will miss at least the Blues’ first two AFL games before his availability is reassessed.

Hard-running Walsh had appeared in doubt for Friday night’s opening-round clash with Brisbane after tweaking his back, a long-running issue, in February.

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The injury scuppered the end of his 2022 season and the start of Walsh’s 2023 campaign, while he had recently been training away from Carlton’s main group.

The Blues confirmed in their injury update on Monday that Walsh was “increasing loads as part of his modified training” with an update on his progress to be provided after their bye in Round 2.

Carlton play Richmond on March 14 then have 15 days until their next game against North Melbourne, and insist Walsh will be reassessed during that bye — created due to the Blues playing in opening round.

Walsh will miss at least the first two matches of the season. Credit: Getty Images

In that window, the Blues will also reassess key defenders Jacob Weitering (calf) and Caleb Marchbank (illness).

Small forward Jesse Motlop will also miss the Lions clash with a jarred toe suffered in Carlton’s practice match against Melbourne.

Motlop is expected to miss one-to-two weeks.

Losing the brilliant Walsh, 23, is a hefty blow to Carlton.

After he returned from injury in round five last year, Walsh averaged 28.6 disposals and was a crucial player in the Blues’ run to a preliminary final.

But in positive news, coach Michael Voss confirmed Zac Williams will make his AFL return on Friday night after missing the entire 2023 season with an ACL injury.

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