Geelong forward Esava Ratugolea will be sidelined indefinitely after undergoing surgery on a broken ankle.
The 19-year-old broke the tibia and fibula at the ankle of his right leg after it was trapped under him in a marking contest against Carlton at Kardinia Park on Saturday night.
A plate and screws were inserted to stabilise the injury and there is no timeframe for his return.
The ugly second-quarter incident appeared capable of causing the sort of catastrophic damage suffered by Richmond's Nathan Brown and Sydney's Gary Rohan in the past.
Speaking after the Cats' 28-point win, coach Chris Scott reported the injury was significant but not as horrific as first thought.
Geelong have nursed the likes of Daniel Menzel (knee) and Cory Gregson (foot) back from major injuries in recent times and Scott said Ratugolea would receive the same support.
"Serious injuries to young players are just about the worst things you can imagine in the game," Scott said.
"But I've said it before, and I'm sick of saying it to be frank, we've got a great history of supporting young players that have serious injuries.
"I'm really confident that we'll do that again and we'll help him find a way back because he's a rare talent."
Ratugolea, selected at No.43 at the 2016 draft, was enjoying a breakout season before the injury.
He made his AFL debut in round one and played his eighth senior game against the Blues.