MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 17: Ben Hobbs and Dyson Heppell of the Bombers look dejected after a loss during the 2022 AFL Round 05 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Fremantle Dockers at Marvel Stadium on April 17, 2022 In Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

A shoulder injury to Essendon midfielder Ben Hobbs is expected to limit the young Bomber's pre-season program for the coming weeks.

Hobbs, who's entering his third season at Tullamarine, suffered minor damage to his AC joint during the Bombers' match sim session on Saturday morning, according to 9 News' Joshua Dawe.

Fortunately for the 20-year-old, the club isn't expecting Hobbs to miss the start of the 2024 season. However, his altered program could see him miss Essendon's first practice match against St Kilda.

The Bombers are scheduled to face the Saints at RSEA Park on Friday, February 23 before heading to Kardinia Park a week later to round out their pre-season schedule against Geelong.

Essendon have enjoyed a relatively clean pre-season on the injury front, with young forward Jaiden Hunter's season-ending ACL setback the outstanding concern.

Ruckman Sam Draper is in line to feature across the Bombers' practice match schedule along with midfielder Dylan Shiel, with the senior duo having dealt with groin and foot issues separately since the end of the 2023 season.

2024 frames as a potential breakout season for Hobbs, who has 35 games under his belt in the red and black across his opening two seasons in the AFL.

The former first-round pick played 18 straight matches to end last season after starting the year with strong form in the VFL, with a role in Brad Scott's side looming likely for the start of the coming season.

Essendon will face Hawthorn at the MCG on Saturday, March 16 to commence their new campaign.