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Christen Press will not return from knee injury until 2024

(Harry How/Getty Images)

Christen Press will not play this NWSL season. Instead, the U.S. women’s national team and Angel City FC forward is targeting a return in 2024.

Angel City interim head coach Becki Tweed shared Press’ expected timeline with The Sporting Tribune. The 34-year-old has not played since tearing her ACL in an NWSL match in June 2022, and she underwent a fourth knee surgery in mid-July.

Still, Press remains eager to get back to the pitch. As she told ESPN’s Holly Rowe on Sept. 4: “The comeback is on.”

“I am doing everything in my power to get back on the field as soon as possible,” Press said. “Looking forward to my return on the pitch.”

Tweed provided more context Tuesday. While Angel City sits in eighth place in the NWSL standings, two points out of playoff position with four matches left to play, they’ll make their push for the postseason without Press. Previously, Tweed had said the club was taking Press’ recovery “week by week.”

“I think her objective is coming back for next season,” Tweed said. “And I think that’s the space that she’s in, and obviously a player of her caliber, we’re excited for her return. But we’re excited for her return when it’s the right time for her.”

Press has been open about the emotional toll the injury has taken on her, sharing details of her “unique recovery journey” throughout the process. Upon revealing the need for a fourth surgery, she maintained that her days were “mostly good” and that she was working once again toward returning to play.

“Despite the fact that, on paper, this is an athlete’s recovery-nightmare, I feel in my heart that to climb the mountain — yes, even one more time — is the dream,” she wrote.

Angel City will support Press throughout her recovery process, Tweed said Tuesday.

“I think that’s obviously really important to bear in mind that we talk about injuries, but we talk about humans and people’s emotional state and what she’s been through in the last year and a half has not been easy,” she said. “So we’re so excited to have her back, and we can’t wait for it to be back on the field, and we know when that moment happens, it’s going to benefit the team.”