PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 10: Sam Sturt of the Dockers runs with the ball during the 2023 AFL Round 13 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Richmond Tigers at Optus Stadium on June 10, 2023 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Minor knee surgery has forced Fremantle forward Sam Sturt to the sidelines for the next month after the Dockers youngster experienced discomfort in his left knee.

Sturt has recorded the niggling issue to the club early into Fremantle's pre-season plans, with the club erring on the side of caution to have the 23-year-old go under the knife.

The operation is set to see Sturt unable to return to full training until mid-to-late January.

Dockers football boss Joe Brierty said the setback comes after a promising start to the pre-season for Sturt.

"After seeking medical advice following the scan, it's been decided - in consultation with our medical team and Sam - that the best course of action is to undergo a minor procedure," Brierty said in a club statement.

"It's unfortunate for Sam as he has been really diligent in his off-season and he hit the ground running in the early part of pre-season.

"Our performance health team will work with Sam to have him back on track and in full training as early as possible in the new year."

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 10: Sam Sturt of the Dockers runs with the ball during the 2023 AFL Round 13 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Richmond Tigers at Optus Stadium on June 10, 2023 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

With the produce unlikely to hinder Sturt's Round 1 hopes, the medium-sized forward will look to add to his 18 games in purple under Justin Longmuir when Fremantle host Brisbane in mid-March.

14 of those appearances came this year after breaking into the senior side in Round 5, with Sturt playing in the final seven games of Fremantle's 2023 campaign to end his fifth year as a Docker with 17 goals for the season.

Sturt's injury comes after Fremantle moved fellow forwards Josh Corbett and Sebit Kuek to the long-term injury list, with the attacking pair battling hip and knee/shoulder issues respectively.