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Carlton optimistic on star Sam Walsh's health

Carlton are optimistic star midfielder Sam Walsh's lingering back issue will not derail his 2023 AFL season.

Walsh sat out the Blues' blockbuster final home-and-away game against Collingwood in August, even with a finals spot on the line.

The 22-year-old was a late withdrawal for that match as Carlton went down in heartbreaking circumstances by a point to continue their nine-year finals drought.

The club expects Walsh to resume training in January but he will not take part in any skills training before Christmas.

Star forward Harry McKay believes Walsh will do everything possible to ensure he is fit and firing ahead of next season.

"Someone of Sam's quality, not only as a person but as a professional, it doesn't matter what his preparation will be like, he will get the best out of himself," McKay told reporters on Monday.

"I am sure come round one he will be in a position to play his best footy.

"Post-Christmas, I fully expect him to be up and going again.

"He is ticking off everything he needs to do at the moment, so he will be all good."

After the round 23 loss to Collingwood, Carlton coach Michael Voss revealed Walsh was "not close" to playing.

"He got through (the round 22) game pretty sore and then he just couldn't get going," Voss said.

"The call was made that it wasn't even worth trying.

"He might have been right in a couple of weeks but he fell short of this one."

McKay said the brutal end to the 2022 season was driving the Blues in their pre-season.

"I think we took some good strides but the way it finished definitely brings some motivation for this season and this pre-season," McKay said.