Essendon youngster Jordan Ridley has suffered a blow in his push for an early season debut, with a stress fracture in his back set to sideline the defender for up to 12 weeks.

Jordan Ridley had some back pain last week, obviously given his age we were pretty keen to find out what was going on,” Essendon High Performance Manager Justin Crow said.

“Unfortunately Jordan has a partial stress fracture in his back, which in one sense gives us a chance to let it heal because it hasn’t broken through, so we’re going to take that opportunity.

“He’s going to have six to eight weeks off running and then build back up into the season.

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RELATED: JORDAN RIDLEY DRAFT PROFILE

“It’s normally between two and four weeks [after the initial six to eight weeks] to build up to play.

“The good news for Jordan is he really only needs to avoid impact – which means running… so he’ll be able to do a lot of weights over the next couple of months.”

Ridley, pick No.21 in the 2016 National Draft, finished with 10 disposals in his first taste of senior footy, last month’s JLT Series clash with the Gold Coast Suns.