Adelaide AFLW midfielder Abbie Ballard says she is close to reaching a major milestone in her rehab journey, just three months on from rupturing her ACL.

Ballard was sidelined midway through Adelaide’s 2023 AFLW campaign after rupturing her left anterior cruciate ligament during the second quarter of the Crows’ Round Seven clash against the Western Bulldogs.

Speaking to AFC Media, Ballard said her road to recovery was progressing well and she hoped returning to running was not too far away.  

“Everything is tracking where it needs to be, my leg is finally starting to get the muscle back,” Ballard said.

“I’ll do a hamstring and quad test next week to make sure everything is strong enough and where it needs to be, but other than that running is the next step.

“”(I’m) tracking well and hopefully next week everything looks good when I do my testing and we can start running in the next week or two which will be good.”

“Everything is tracking where it needs to be.

Rehab can be a lonely time for some players, but for Ballard her journey has been the opposite, thanks to the support of her teammates.

The 21-year-old has been surrounded by her teammates throughout the majority of the rehab process so far, saying the support has helped stay motivated.

“The girls have been great,” Ballard said.

“There have been a couple that have done this before, so they’ve been on my back just helping me get through.

“It was nice that when I did it I was still around the girls, so I wasn’t doing everything by myself.

“Now in the offseason I’m still in the gym with everyone else and it’s so helpful having people around and it gives you the extra motivation.”

Prior to her injury, Ballard had played every match for Adelaide in 2023, averaging 10.4 disposals and 4.6 tackles a game.

Injuring her knee so close to Adelaide’s 2023 finals campaign was tough for Ballard but she said she quickly switched her mindset.

“There is never a good time but coming into finals and we had a pretty good shot of getting pretty far so it sucked that we missed that,” Ballard said

“I was absolutely shattered but I soon realised that it is a year injury and there is no coming back any sooner.

“It was a quick turnaround, a week after I was in for surgery and then it was a pretty slow couple of weeks at home just chilling on the family farm which was nice to get out of town.”

The Crows’ AFLW pre-season is expected to begin in May and Ballard is hoping to participate in as many drills as possible, however is not putting any expectations on herself for a return date to competitive action.

“I’m hoping to be doing as much as I can with the girls,” Ballard said.

I am tracking along pretty well so hopefully when all the girls do their change of direction and pick up their distance, I will be tracking with them.

“It would be great to come back for Round One, but I think that I will be just hoping that everything goes well from now on.

“If I just make it back sometime next season I’ll be happy.”