Utility Marco Paparone will miss the start of the Brisbane Lions' AFL season after having back surgery.
Paparone, who's only played ten games across the last two campaigns for the Lions, had completed all of pre-season to date, but was struggling with a back issue.
The 23-year-old had the operation done to relieve pressure around scar tissue on his sciatic nerve.
Lions general manager of football David Noble said it was best that the West Australian had his surgery now, in order to give him the best chance of playing as much as possible this year.
The club's medical staff felt it was the best way forward, he added, and if his recovery went well he could be available early in the season.
"We believe that for him to have his best year possible, we should do the surgery now," said Noble. "He is already up and about after surgery, and we expect him to miss approximately eight to 10 weeks."
Paparone, who has played 55 games in his five seasons with the club but struggled with hamstring problems and form issues in the recent past, is likely to return to action via the NEAFL.
Meanwhile, Carlton still have youngsters Harry McKay and Sam Petrevski-Seton on modified programs as the opening pre-season matches approach.
Forward McKay, who was the No.10 pick in the 2015 AFL Draft, is battling a toe injury.
Petrevski-Seton, the club's first selection the draft two years ago, has trained away from the main group in recent weeks and instead focused on running drills.
A number of Blues, including Alex Silvagni, Sam Rowe and recruits Aaron Mullett, Darcy Lang and Jarrod Garlett, did not compete in match simulation at Craigieburn on Wednesday.
Carlton are 5000/1 to win the Grand Final, while the Blues are 5000/1 to finish in the top eight.
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