Hawthorn have suffered a huge blow on the eve of the premiership season with star defender Grant Birchall ruled out for half the year.
The veteran requires more surgery on his injured knee which sidelined him for 13 games in 2017.
Birchall was making strong progress before pulling up sore following a training session this week, according to Hawthorn football manager Graham Wright.
“Grant was progressing really well and had been coping with the training loads,” Wright said.
“His training was solid this week, but unfortunately he experienced some swelling and upon investigation, we found some cartilage damage.
“We decided the best course of action was to have some minor surgery early next week.
“It’s disappointing for ‘Birch’, particularly after a really tough year in 2017, but we’re confident we’ll see him back out on the park around the middle of the season.”
Meanwhile, premiership midfielder Will Langford might not be available until round five after he broke his hand at training this week.
He underwent surgery on Wednesday to have screws and a plate inserted.