Mallory Swanson shared an injury update Wednesday on her Instagram account, posting a video of herself running on grass for the first time since her knee injury in April.
The 25-year-old forward, who stars for the Chicago Red Stars and the U.S. women’s national team, has not played since tearing the patellar tendon in her left knee. But the latest update represents a major step forward in her recovery, as Swanson acknowledged in her caption: “Big day woooo!!”
Just last week, Red Stars head coach Chris Petrucelli said Swanson was running on an antigravity treadmill and had not yet made the transition to regular ground.
#ChiStars and #USWNT forward Mal Swanson is back running on grass!!The last update from Chicago HC Chris Petrucelli was on 9/1 and that she was on an antigravity machine 🎥: @MalPugh Instagram pic.twitter.com/7JTWpDBpYZ— Taylor Vincent (@tayvincent6) September 6, 2023
#ChiStars and #USWNT forward Mal Swanson is back running on grass!!The last update from Chicago HC Chris Petrucelli was on 9/1 and that she was on an antigravity machine 🎥: @MalPugh Instagram pic.twitter.com/7JTWpDBpYZ
A return this NWSL season hasn’t been ruled out, although Petrucelli did call it “a reach” when speaking with reporters last week. A patellar tendon tear can take up to a year to heal, according to the Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital, and the Red Stars have not established a firm timeline with Swanson.
“We’ve never put a timeline on Mal. And actually, we still haven’t discussed the timeline with her,” he said. “Obviously, we’re running out of games here.”
Chicago has four games left in the NWSL regular season, with the Red Stars sitting at the bottom of the league table. With Swanson’s contract expiring at the end of this season, she will enter the offseason as a free agent. But for now, she is focused on getting back and healthy.
“I don’t have downtime. It is all rehab, just focusing on that,” she told Just Women’s Sports in July. “I’ve learned that it’s just a process, and yeah, I think that you can just enjoy it. As much as it might not be fun, I think that there’s still so much positive that you can get out of it.”