MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 01: Jack Billings of the Saints in action during the 2022 AFL Round 16 match between the Carlton Blues and the St Kilda Saints at Marvel Stadium on July 01, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

St Kilda midfielder Jack Billings will miss close to two months of action after the club discovered a hairline fracture in his right leg.

The injury was sustained during Friday's pre-season clash against Melbourne at Moorabbin, with the 27-year-old suffering a fractured fibula.

“This is clearly a big blow for Jack who has worked hard over the summer to re-join the group, recently completing a great month of training,” Acting General Manager of Football David Misson said.

“Despite the setback, we know Jack will attack his rehab to return to the field as soon as possible.”

“For now, we'll be doing everything we can to support him through this latest injury.”

Friday's match against the Demons was Billings' first since overcoming a back issue from last season that curtailed his campaign after Round 19.

The ailment adds to a frustrating past 18 months for Billings, who managed just eight appearances in 2022 before going under the knife to fix his back injury.

The injury also compounds Ross Lyon's injury-riddled first pre-season back at Linton Street, with the Saints currently without tall forward quartet Max King (shoulder), Jack Hayes (foot), Tim Membrey (knee) and Matt Allison (foot).

Membrey is expected to be fit for St Kilda's Round 1 clash with Fremantle, while Hayes could make a full recovery by the first few weeks of the season.

King is facing a sideline stint until after Round 5, while Allison won't return to the field until the latter half of 2023.

St Kilda will host Fremantle at Marvel Stadium on Sunday, March 19.