Alex Johnson on the verge of returning to AFL

Alex Johnson is on the verge of AFLs most remarkable comeback after enduring five knee reconstructions in four years.

Swans head of football Tom Harley yesterday confirmed the versatile defender completed full training yesterday for the first time this year.

Johnson, whose last game was the 2012 grand final, is expected to be available for selection in 4 weeks.

“He has seen Menzel do this and they have shared their journey together so he can only take inspiration from that. They are very similar rehabs. He has got a road map to follow”.

This is the first time in a very long time that Johnson has managed to train without injury, and while its amazing to see him running, he still has a way to go.

“He has just done a full training session today and he has got his quad strength back and we are just looking at strengthening a lot of dormant muscles he hasn’t used for five years”, he said.

“He hasn’t got to this stage for a while so that’s a positive. He is itching to get back out there.

“The fact he is with the main group is a huge positive and he looks 4-6 weeks away and then he will return to play. We fully expect him to play.

“When we mapped out what his return to play might look like we talked about the end of May but now he’s back in full training we can be more specific.”

Johnson played every game in the premiership winning 2012 side, emerging as a star defender, before being struck down with an ACL injury during the 2013 pre-season.

He underwent a traditional knee reconstruction in April 2013, before undergoing a LARS knee reconstruction in July the same year.

He returned to the field for the Swans reserves in 2014, but tore the ligament in his first game back. He didn't return to the field until 2016, undergoing another 3 operations between 2014 and 2016 for various complications and infections.

Tom Harley said that Menzel's recovery from four knee reconstructions had inspired Johnson to persist.

“When I hear people say no one’s ever made it back from five knee reconstructions, I understand that’s a fact, but I guarantee a lot of people would have been saying that to Menzel as well,” said Johnson, who’s been inspired by the counsel and comeback of Menzel, a veteran of four recos,” he said.

“There is an element of stubbornness of me saying, ‘I’m going to prove wrong anyone who’s ever doubted me”.

Here's a nice snap of his knee
Curtesy of Curtesy of

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia

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