2018-09-10 16:34:00 CEST

Brooke to pair with Kerri in Las Vegas

After recovering from a shoulder injury, the defender will partner with the three-time Olympic champion in the October event

Brooke Sweat (right) celebrates during the Fort Lauderdale Major, where she and Summer Ross finished thirdBrooke Sweat (right) celebrates during the Fort Lauderdale Major, where she and Summer Ross finished third

After four months sidelined due to a shoulder injury, American Brooke Sweat is nearing her return to the sand and the Olympian is set to come back in great style as the 32-year-old defender will team up with three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings in the World Tour four-star event in Las Vegas in October, she exclusively told beachmajorseries.com.

According to Brooke, the partnership with Kerri, who is also looking for a regular partner after she split with Nicole Branagh and with whom she has been training in California for the past weeks, was initially agreed just for event in Las Vegas. After the tournament, the veterans will discuss the possibility of sticking together for the upcoming months, including the race for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“Our games really complement each other and we both just want to win, so I’m really excited to get on the court with her in Vegas,” Brooke told beachmajorseries.com. “She understands my shoulder situation better than anyone because she had similar injuries, so it has been really easy and fun practicing with her. She knows exactly what I’m feeling and going through and that has been comforting to me.”

And Brooke has gone through a lot over the last months. She injured her right rotator cuff during this year’s Fort Lauderdale Major, where she won the bronze medal with Summer Ross. She started treatment and tried to avoid a medical procedure and kept playing, but after the four-star event in Huntington Beach in May, she decided to have surgery.

Yep, still missin it. Can't wait to be doing this again soon. ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ #12weeks #teamUSA ๐Ÿ“ท: @techandphoto_images

830 Likes, 14 Comments - Brooke Youngquist Sweat (@brookesweat) on Instagram: "Yep, still missin it. Can't wait to be doing this again soon. ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ #12weeks #teamUSA ๐Ÿ“ท:..."

The first months after the procedure were of intense pain and struggle for the defender.

“The first weeks of rehab were the most painful of my life,” the Rio 2016 Olympian recalled. “It was impossible to sleep and I was in so much pain, I’m glad my mother and my husband were very patient because I wasn’t easy to be around. I’ve had two knee surgeries before, but none of them compares to this one. After the first month or so things got better and then after the 12-week mark we started ramping things up a bit and just been progressing ever since.”

And now Brooke is as close as it gets to her usual form. Mentally rested by the forced break, she has been cleared to practice in the sands for some weeks. While her crafty defensive game is back there, she’s still gradually increasing the workload on her repaired shoulder.

With an entire month ahead of her before she hits the sand in Nevada, Sweat is confident the best of her will come out when she plays with Kerri.

“I feel great now,” she added. “It’s been about four months from the surgery now and I’ve been able to do more and more in the sand every week. I’m slowly getting back in to hitting and will start serving soon. Everything else is ready to go, so I expect to have 100% of my game back by the end of the month.”

UPDATE ๐ŸŒ€ Been gettin in the sand these last few weeks and it feels SO good! Still have limits on what I can do but slowly getting back into hitting and serving! ....feels weird to do these things with no pain! ๐Ÿค— Passing, setting and digging is ๐Ÿ’ฏ! Working hard to come back better than before! Also, can't wait to share the court again one day with my bfffff Kiki! #teamUSA #patience #believe #focused #kikidoesntloveme

788 Likes, 16 Comments - Brooke Youngquist Sweat (@brookesweat) on Instagram: "UPDATE ๐ŸŒ€ Been gettin in the sand these last few weeks and it feels SO good! Still have limits on..."

When the defender returns to action, she’ll be faced with a very different scenario in comparison to the one she left behind in May. Pretty much every top American team has gone through changes since then and competition is higher than ever.

But that doesn’t discourage Brooke on her chase for the second Olympics. After finishing 19th with three setbacks in Rio, she is eager to do better in Tokyo in two-year time.

“I can tell my body probably appreciated the break, but it has also fueled my fire to keep competing and get back to the Olympics, hopefully with a different outcome than Rio,” she remarked. “I know it will be hard, because the American teams will keep improving and pushing each other to be better every day. There’s a lot of talent and I’m curious to see if more changes will happen this off-season.”

Welcome back, Brooke!

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