MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 14: Kane Lambert of the Tigers celebrates kicking a goal during the round four AFL match between the Richmond Tigers and the Brisbane Lions at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 14, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Premiership Tiger Kane Lambert could be sidelined for close to six months should the Richmond onballer require an operation on his hip.

Lambert has been absent from playing duties with the Tigers this pre-season, missing last Saturday's practice match against Geelong at Kardinia Park.

The 30-year-old has been an integral part of Richmond's recent successes, having played in all three grand final wins since making his debut in yellow and black seven seasons ago.

The Jack Titus Medal winner is now facing the potential reality of missing the entire season, with SEN's Sam Edmiund reporting that Lambert could be sidelined for a lengthy period should he require surgery on his hip.

It is understood that Lambert has battled ongoing soreness across the pre-season, with the 128-gamer set to consult his options with a specialist next week while Richmond also weigh up a call to put their gun onballer under the knife.

The surgery has been likened to the operation that Essendon veteran Michael Hurley underwent last year.

The setback adds to growing injury frustrations for the Tigers ahead of the 2022 season, with defender Nick Vlastuin also under an injury cloud.

The 27-year-old is battling a hamstring niggle sustained in the hit-out agianst the Cats on the weekend, placing him in doubt to feature in Richmond's Round 1 clash with Carlton on March 17.

Premiership trio Dustin Martin (abductor), Tom Lynch (hamstring) and Jack Graham have also required treatment in recent weeks.

The Tigers will be looking to redeem themselves following a 12th-placed finish last year, with Damien Hardwick's side only able to amass nine wins in their premiership defence.

The Tigers will face Hawthorn in Devemport this week as part of the AAMI Community Series schedule before clashing with the Blues to open their season.