Luckless Carlton have suffered yet another injury blow with Dale Thomas ruled out for the rest of the AFL season.
Thomas, 27, will undergo shoulder surgery to correct an issue he’s carried for several months, the club announced on Tuesday.
“His shoulder hasn’t been right ever since the first tackle of the first game at the start of the season and the last couple of games it actually slipped out,” football manager Andrew McKay told the club’s website.
“We had some advice from the specialist yesterday and came to the conclusion that he needs a shoulder reconstruction, so he’s having that done tomorrow.
“But this way at least we will be able to get him fit and get him right before the start of the pre-season for 2016 to give him the best opportunity to play some really good footy next year.”
News of Thomas’s injury came just hours after Mick Malthouse, who was sacked after Carlton’s 1-7 start to the season, backed the former Collingwood star to regain peak form after a disappointing run with the Blues.
The loss of Thomas, who had also been slowed by a toe injury in recent weeks, compounds the club’s miserable run with injuries this year.
Dual Brownlow medallist Chris Judd was forced into retirement after rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament against Adelaide in round 10, and ruckman Robert Warnock was ruled out for the year with a shoulder injury just days later.
Shortly before his sacking, Malthouse cited the Blues’ lengthy casualty list as a key factor in their disappointing season, with senior players including Bryce Gibbs, Andrew Carrazzo, Michael Jamison, Lachie Henderson, Andrew Walker and Matthew Kreuzer all struggling at various stages.