Young Bomber Nik Cox could miss the remainder of the 2022 AFL season as the Bombers weigh up surgery on a Lisfranc foot injury.
The 20-year-old has faced multiple setbacks this season in a battle with ongoing ankle issues, having first sustained the ailment in his side's Round 2 loss to Brisbane.
Cox returned to Ben Rutten's side in Round 5, before further hampering his ankle two weeks later against the Bulldogs.
The Bombers remained confident Cox would be available for selection in the weeks after the setback, first listing the Montmorency product as a chance to return for the club's Round 8 bout with Hawthorn.
However, in a sour turn of events, Cox suffered a foot injury in a practice match against the Swans on Saturday afternoon, and the club could put their youngster on ice for the rest of the season.
The Bombers have also confirmed midfielder Jye Caldwell has suffered an AC joint injury and will remains a chance to play this weekend.
“We anticipate to know the extent of Nik’s injury over the coming days after he meets with a foot and ankle surgeon for further determination,” Essendon football boss Mahoney told the club's website.
“It is likely he will be sidelined for several weeks as a result of the Lisfranc injury which is disappointing for Nik, but we will know more in the coming days.
“As expected, scans confirmed an AC joint injury after Jye’s collision on Saturday night. As such, we will wait to see how Jye’s shoulder injury settles over the coming days before we determine his availability for selection this weekend for the Dreamtime at the ‘G blockbuster.”
Cox's injury adds to a growing casualty ward at Tullamarine, with Harrison Jones (ankle), Kyle Langford (hamstring), Will Snelling (calf) and Jake Stringer (hamstring) among those currently sidelined.
Cox played all but two games for Essendon in his debut season last year, tallying 27 career games.
The Bombers are seeking their third win of the season following a dismantling loss at the hands of the Swans in Round 9, with Rutten's side out for redemption this weekend when they face Richmond in the annual Dreamtime clash at the MCG.