Essendon best and fairest Jordan Ridley will miss next Sunday's ANZAC Day clash against Collingwood after being forced to undergo mandatory concussion rehabilitation.
Ridley suffered a head knock in the Bombers' 57-point loss to Brisbane on Saturday night and under the AFL's new concussion protocols will be sidelined for the next 12 days at a minimum.
That period will eclipse Essendon's traditional ANZAC Day clash with the Magpies, as both sides remain desperate for a victory this season.
Ridley has been key for the Bombers across the past 12 months and has been in All-Australian form this season under new coach Ben Rutten.
In what will be Rutten's first ANZAC Day game at the helm of the red sash, Victorian crowds could be increased to one hundred per cent capacity in time for the showcase match.
One hundred percent Anzac Day is a real possibility, the AFL introducing full covid tracing for all Victorian games from next week (fans must register name and mobile). More @7AFL shortly at midday
— Tom Browne (@TomBrowne7) April 18, 2021
Crowds in Victoria are currently limited to 75% capacity and could be in line for a further increase given the state's stronghold on the COVID-19 virus.
The prospects of 100% capacity would likely see close to 90,000 fans flock into the MCG to watch the Bombers and Magpies clash.
Geelong vs West Coast (GMHBA Stadium), Carlton vs Brisbane (Marvel Stadium) and Melbourne vs Richmond (MCG) are also fixtured for next weekend in Victoria.
While Ridley's absence is sure to have major implications on the Round 6 match, Collingwood will be without defender Jeremy Howe (hamstring) and forward Jordan De Goey (nose/concussion).
The trio of injuries adds to a stacked casualty ward from this weekend, with Sydney and Port Adelaide both sweating on scan results for key figures of their own.
Swans ruckman Tom Hickey is suspected to have damaged his PCL in Sydney's loss to the Giants on Saturday, with the former Eagle facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Port Adelaide defender Dan Houston is also facing a nervous wait after suffering a shoulder injury in his side's 28-point win over Carlton at the MCG.