Bombers midfielder Devon Smith will likely miss the remainder of the season as he undergoes knee surgery.
The 26-year old has been hampered by both chronic and acute knee problems this season and getting both fixed would end his campaign.
Essendon coach John Worsfold said that all options were being weighed up.
“The understanding we have is that he saw his surgeon last night and he will require surgery to fix his knee. He’s got an acute injury, which has just happened, and he’s also got his long-standing PCL injury that he’s had for a couple of years,” Worsfold told reporters on Tuesday morning.
“We’re just waiting on clarity around if they’re going to fix both at the same time. That sounds like it’s the way it’s going to go, but we’ll release something that’s more clear this afternoon.
“If he has the PCL fixed as well, the old injury corrected, then that’s a six-month downtime.”
Smith would be a huge loss for the Bombers, coming off a massive 2018 season where he led the AFL in tackling and added a fierce grunt to the club’s midfield.
Other Victorian clubs that courted the ex-Giant were aware of his knee issues when he was seeking a move back home and that it may require surgery down the track.
“It’s disappointing for him. He’s very disappointed he’s not going to be playing footy for the remainder of this year, we’re really disappointed for him, but we’re really keen to get his knee fixed so he can play footy for a lot longer,” Worsfold said.
“We were aware he had a PCL injury. A lot of players have played out careers with PCL injuries in the past so you never know what comes.”
In positive news for the Bombers, Shaun Mckernan (hamstring), Mitch Brown (wrist) and Martin Gleeson (cheekbone) are all expected to be available for this Saturday night’s Dreamtime at the ‘G clash against Richmond.