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Melbourne Football Club

Lever heading to the USA

MELBOURNE will send star defender Jake Lever to the United States later this month as part of his rehabilitation from the second knee reconstruction of his career.

Lever, along with Demons physiotherapist Joel Ames, will visit renowned sports injury expert Bill Knowles in Philadelphia for one week as the star defender takes the next step in his recovery from the torn anterior cruciate ligament injury he suffered last June.

Knowles is renowned as a key consultant for several US sporting organisations, and works with athletes around the world, particularly when it comes to improving mobility and strengthening the knee following serious injuries.

Melbourne football manager Josh Mahoney told AFL.com.au Lever was entering an important phase in his recovery as he gets closer to contact-based training.

"Jake has progressed very well particularly since Christmas," Mahoney said.

"We have previously used Bill when he saw Christian Petracca and we found that Christian gained confidence and strength in his knee, so we hope that Jake can get a bit out of it as well."

Knowles will run Lever through some important exercises so that he develops familiarity and comfort in his knee, with landing, agility and high-speed movement all part of the week-long program.

Knowles worked with Petracca when the emerging star ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in his debut season in 2015.

West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui headlines the list of players to have worked with Knowles, with the star big man travelling over in 2017 as part of his bid to return fit and firing for the 2018 season.

Adelaide skipper Taylor Walker, Greater Western Sydney forward Jonathon Patton and Cat-turned-Swan Daniel Menzel have also taken the opportunity to work with the sports specialist.

Lever tore the ACL in his left knee against the Western Bulldogs in round 11, ruling him out for the rest of the season and the Demons' preliminary final charge.

The defender was initially due to see Knowles in January, but irritation around the scar tissue from the reconstructive surgery pushed back his recovery time by several weeks.

However, Mahoney said Lever was now back on track and although there has been no definitive date set on his return to play, the defender is advanced in his rehab.

The injury last June was the second time he has torn the ACL in his left knee, with Lever having a knee reconstruction as a 17-year-old before being drafted by Adelaide with pick No.14 in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft.

Lever is contracted until the end of the 2021 season after agreeing to a four-year deal with the Demons.

Melbourne gave up two first-round draft picks to secure Lever in the 2017 NAB AFL Trade Period.