St Kilda star forward Max King will be sidelined for a number of months as he will likely require shoulder reconstruction surgery after suffering a training injury this pre-season.

The Saints confirmed on Thursday that King will see a surgeon to better understand the full timeline for his recovery, with scans confirming this week that the 22-year-old will need to reconstruct his left shoulder.

“Obviously this is an extremely disappointing setback for Max,” Saints football boss Geoff Walsh said in a club statement.

“He had come back for pre-season in really great condition, which is a credit to his professionalism; a trait we know will stand him in good stead as he works through his rehab over the next few months.

“The recovery and rehabilitation period for this injury will be a number of months, which we will provide updates on as he progresses through his rehab program – suffice to say his return to play will not be until the season is well underway.”

King missed the entirety of his debut season at Moorabbin due to multiple long-term knee injuries, while an ankle issue also hampered his rookie campaign.

Since making his debut in 2020, King has noted 112 goals from 60 AFL matches, winning St Kilda's leading goalkicker award the past two seasons.

The Sandringham product booted a career-high 52 goals this season to rank among the league's best forwards.