MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 15: Sam Walsh of the Blues in action during the 2019 AFL round 13 match between the Carlton Blues and the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on June 15, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Young Carlton star Sam Walsh is expected to miss at least the opening month of the 2022 season after suffering an ankle syndesmosis injury in a tackle during match simulation.

Further assessment on Monday confirmed that the 21-year-old would require surgery on the injury, with the club confirming that the 2019 Rising Star would be sidelined for at least the first four rounds of Carlton's 2022 campaign. Walsh is yet to miss a game since his debut in 2019.

Carlton Head of Football Brad Lloyd said he believed that Walsh's professionalism and strong pre-season training would see him back on the field in the early stages of the season.

“It is obviously disappointing news for Sam: he’d completed every session so far over the summer but unfortunately these incidents are a part of footy – Sam will throw everything into his rehab and his teammates will continue to do the same for the start of the season,” Lloyd said.

“Sam leads from the front with his professionalism and commitment every day he walks through the doors of the footy club and there’s no doubt he will take the same approach to his recovery over the coming weeks.

“We’ll continue to assess Sam throughout his recovery, at this stage we expect him to be available to play again after the first month of the season has been complete.

“There has been some real competition for spots in that midfield group over the summer so we look forward to seeing who puts their hand up and takes their chance over the coming weeks.”

Carlton are scheduled to face Richmond in Round 1, with pre-season matches against St Kilda and Melbourne across the next month already confirmed.