Kangaroos teenager Charlie Comben has been handed a cruel blow to his pre-season after sustaining a tibial stress fracture, per the club website.

The key forward/ruck utility is yet to make his debut with North Melbourne and will now face a lengthy stint on the sidelines, with the Kangaroos set to take a conservative approach in the 19-year-old's recovery.

North Melbourne football boss Brady Rawlings said the setback was a huge disappointment for the club and Comben.

“It’s a disappointing result for Charlie who has been working really hard to give himself the best opportunity this season,”

“We will take an extremely cautious approach to his rehabilitation with a view on his long-term career.

“Charlie has a lot of potential, he’s a hard worker, has a great attitude and we see him being an important part of our team in the future.

“We’re confident that Charlie’s resilient character and meticulous approach to training will put him in the best position to return to full fitness.”