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USWNT’s Christen Press reveals ‘unique’ knee injury journey

USWNT and Angel City FC forward Christen Press has had four knee surgeries since tearing her ACL in June 2022. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Christen Press has been through a “unique journey” to recovery since her knee injury last June, she revealed Wednesday via Instagram.

The U.S. women’s national team and Angel City FC forward has had three surgeries on the same knee in eight months. She tore the ACL in her right knee during the 2022 NWSL season and has not played since then.

While Press described her “relentless optimism and enduring hope” in her latest social media post, her continued recovery puts the timeline for her return in question.

The 34-year-old was expected to make her return to the pitch as soon as this month, per the latest update from USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski. He described her as “in return-to-play protocol” ahead of February’s SheBelieves Cup, and he had estimated in October that she could be ready for limited minutes by late February or early March.

Press herself posted a video showing her working on lateral movement in a gym environment in December, and she posted another of her and Tobin Heath jogging together on a soccer pitch on Jan. 15.

Angel City FC kicks off their NWSL season against Gotham FC at 9 p.m. ET Sunday, March 26, at their home stadium in Los Angeles. Whether Press will be ready for a return remains to be seen.

The USWNT will play its next friendlies against Ireland in April, and Press also remains a question mark for the national team. She was excluded from the World Cup qualifying roster last summer even before her injury, according to Andonovski, who has cited the team’s depth at the forward position.

“It’s not easy to be a forward in the United States right now,” Andonovski said last summer. “Obviously it’s great, but it’s not easy because the competition just got bigger and bigger.”

Yet in more recent conversations about Press, the coach has been complimentary of her World Cup experience.

“Christen Press, who I think is very similar to Tobin, just very experienced, has been in two World Cups, won two World Cups, and we know that can be an asset on any team,” Andonovski said.