Melbourne midfielder Clayton Oliver has undergone minor surgery on his finger, with the star ball winner entering a race against the clock to be fit for the Demons' next match.

Oliver has been hampered by the issue since hurting his finger at training in late March. The 26-year-old has since played through the pain while supported by a guard on his right hand.

After a promising start to his 2024 campaign, Oliver has looked limited in his past two matches, with Thursday night's loss to the Lions seeing the Melbourne onballer record just 16 disposals.

That tally is the second-lowest disposal for Oliver since midway through the shortened 2020 season.

Now, with 12 days until Melbourne's next game given their scheduled Round 6 bye, Oliver has undergone surgery on his finger. The procedure will mean Oliver is no certainty to face Richmond on Anzac Day eve, however Melbourne are hopeful of his playing prospects.

"Clayton has been managing a finger issue over the past few weeks, and has today undergone a small procedure,” Demons football boss Alan Richardson said in a club update.

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“The required surgery will alleviate some pain Clayton has been experiencing, which will allow him to play and perform at his best for the rest of the season.

“With the extended break we have before our next match, and with everything going to plan, we expect Clayton not to miss any footy and to be available for our Round 7 clash against Richmond.”

The Demons will regain small forward Kysaiah Pickett from suspension for their clash with Richmond, while the likes of Shane McAdam (hamstring) and Marty Hore (thumb) could be in the frame should they overcome current injury matters.

Hore could come into Simon Goodwin's side in place of injured defender Christian Salem, who could miss over a month with a hamstring injury.

Salem was injured early into Thursday's loss and will be sidelined for up to six weeks.

“This is unfortunate for Christian, who is such an important player in our team”, Richardson added.

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“Christian has had his fair share of injury battles, so while this is another frustrating setback for him, we know he will attack his rehab with the utmost professionalism. He is as resilient as they come.

“At this stage, we expect him to miss approximately four to six weeks, given the nature of the injury.”

Melbourne will face Richmond at MCG on Wednesday, April 24 at 7:25pm (AEST) for their next match.