The decorated AFL career of Chris Judd is almost certainly over after the Carlton superstar suffered a serious knee injury early in Saturday’s clash against Adelaide.
Judd, 31, was stretchered from the MCG 21 minutes into the first quarter, with scans performed while the game continued confirming he had ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Judd, who said that he was a “bit sore”, was supported by his parents as he departed a Prahran medical centre following scans and replied “Yep” when asked by a Seven Network reporter if he feared he had played his last AFL game.
Caretaker coach John Barker paid tribute to the impact Judd has had on the club, but was reluctant to be drawn on his future, with the Blues keen to give him time to make his up his own mind.
“I don’t think we probably need or want to be too rash with the decisions we make about Chris at the moment,” Barker said after the nine-point loss to the Crows.
“He’s a champion of the game and he’s been massive for this club.
“What do you say? My heart goes out to him and our club’s heart goes out to him.
Judd landed heavily on his left leg in a marking contest with Crows star Patrick Dangerfield and immediately collapsed to the turf in pain.
The dual Brownlow medallist started to limp towards the bench from the outer wing with the help of trainers but play was stopped so he could depart the arena on the motorised cart.
“I don’t remember anything, to be honest. Just trying to spoil the ball and then he just came down awkwardly,” Dangerfield told afl.com.au.
“He looked in a fair bit of pain and I gave him a tap on the leg.
“The game doesn’t really wait for too many, you’ve got to get back and reset so unfortunately that’s what happens in our competition at times.
“It’s really unfortunate for Chris. He’s someone I admire hugely and he’s been an ornament to the game.”
Judd, who was playing in the 279th game of his 14-year career, contemplated retirement at the end of the 2014 campaign before signing on for one more year.
News of his injury brought a flood of support on Twitter.
“Sad day for footy,” former Carlton spearhead Brendan Fevola said.
“Chris Judd easily the best player I’ve played with. Champion superstar jet. Has done everything in footy. Well done champ.”
“Hate seeing absolute legends finish careers like that,” retired Adelaide forward Ryan Fitzgerald tweeted.
“Hope it’s not over Juddy.”
Judd was taken third overall by West Coast at the 2001 draft ahead of No.1 pick Luke Hodge and second selection Luke Ball, who both weighed in.
“Flattening sight seeing Juddy carried off,” Hodge tweeted.
“Lets hope with the form he has shown this year he has a quick recovery in time for (round one) next year.”
“Let’s not jump to conclusions,” Ball told 3AW.
“Just celebrate Judd’s career and let him make the call in his own time.”
CHRIS JUDD PROFILE
* Drafted third overall at the 2001 national draft.
* Played 134 games with the Eagles between 2002 and 2006.
* Played 145 games with Carlton after the Blues traded Josh Kennedy and pick No.3 and No.20 at the 2007 national draft for him.
* Premierships – 2006 (West Coast)
* Brownlow Medal – 2004 (West Coast), 2010 (Carlton)
* Norm Smith Medal – 2005
* Best and fairest – 2004, 2006 (West Coast), 2008, 2009, 2010 (Carlton)
* All-Australian – 2004, 2006, 2008 (captain), 2009, 2010, 2011
* AFLPA MVP – 2006, 2011
* West Coast captain – 2006-2007
* Carlton captain – 2008-2012