Sydney Swans midfielder Callum Mills has undergone shoulder surgery after a Mad Monday celebration gone wrong.
Channel 7’s Mitch Cleary reported on Tuesday night Mills suffered a shoulder injury while wrestling with a teammate during the side’s post-season drinks.
Mills could miss up to 12 months after rupturing his rotator cuff, and will certainly miss Round 1, according to SEN’s Tom Morris.
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“He was mucking around with Jacob Konstanty when the injury occurred. It was innocuous at the time. Teammates didn’t even notice,” Morris wrote on Twitter.
The incident saw Port Adelaide champion Kane Cornes question whether Mills should lose the Swans captaincy.
“You are a professional footballer for the time you’re a professional footballer. So when you are contracted to be that, you need to act like that,” Cornes said on SEN’s Sportsday.
“This is a guy who’s co-captain of the football club, a guy that in 2018 broke his foot playing NFL. And now he’s done a serious injury … they can’t win the premiership without him.
“He’s the defensive Josh Dunkley that Brisbane have, Brisbane aren’t in a Grand Final if it’s not for Josh Dunkley, Sydney will be the same if it’s not for Callum Mills.”
He added: “I think the commentary around Mills losing the captaincy is fair.”
Cornes also suggested for players who are injured participating in off-field activities – such as Ollie Wines’ water-skiing in 2019 – “if you get injured, for the time that you’re out, the club shouldn’t be forced to pay your contract.
“We are semi-professional as an industry (when it comes to incidents like this)…someone told me today that if this happened in the NFL, you’re done.
“Your contract is ripped up.”
Sydney confirmed Mills’ injury on Tuesday night.
“Losing players to injury in the off-season is always disappointing,” Sydney football boss Charlie Gardiner said.
“Callum is our captain and an important member of the squad. We are extremely disappointed this injury has occurred.
“Callum is equally disappointed, as you can imagine, but he is recovering well and will get to work on his rehabilitation immediately.”
SEN reporter Sam Edmund shed more light on how the injury unfolded.
“This is going to be a big story as it unfolds. It’s a disaster. This is a serious shoulder injury for Callum Mills,” Edmund told SEN Breakfast on Wednesday.
“Definitely going to miss Round 1 and I’m told if this (had happened in) March, he most likely wouldn’t play for the year.
“They’re in an establishment in the city of Sydney – a friend of the club, so it’s a private function, no one knows they’re there – and things sort of escalated as they do. There’s a wrestle with a teammate, a few wrestles, the co-captain has got himself into a situation where he’s seriously hurt his shoulder but at the time, I’m told, he’s unaware of the gravity (of his injury).
“The club didn’t know, he didn’t know for several more days after that the seriousness of it. They’ve gone in, got it checked out … and it’s a serious shoulder injury for the co-captain of the club in a setting that you certainly wouldn’t expect something like that to happen of this severity.
“This is why Charlie Gardner obviously has used words like ‘extremely disappointed’, because it’s rocked the club and it seriously upset the club too.
“He’s had that operation last week, he’s now in rehab and it’s going to be a long rehab.”
Mills, 26, has played 155 senior games since being drafted as an Academy prospect with pick No.3 in the 2015 draft.
He won the club’s best and fairest award in 2022.
Mills injured himself in 2018 following a training session while throwing an American football with friends, when he landed on uneven ground and fell.
Originally published as ’Semi-professional’: Cornes calls for Swans to not pay Mills amid Mad Monday injury