Melbourne star onballer Jack Viney is facing a delayed start to the AFL preseason after undergoing hip surgery.
The 2016 best-and-fairest winner will not resume full training until after Christmas, nor will key defender Tom McDonald who had surgery to fix a persistent shoulder complaint.
“Jack was experiencing hip pain throughout the year and had an operation post-season,” Demons football manager Josh Mahoney said.
“The theory is the same with all of these players, so that we maximise their pre-seasons and we’re confident the surgery that Jack’s had will allow him to complete the majority of pre-season post-Christmas.”
Viney was the shining light in Melbourne’s midfield this season, averaging 26 disposals, seven tackles and six clearances per game.
The 22-year-old signed a three-year contract extension in May which will keep him with the Demons until the end of 2020.
McDonald, 24, has become one of the most durable players on the Demons’ young list, playing 104 games since making his debut at the end of 2011.
He and utility Cameron Pedersen (shoulder) are expected to commence running when training resumes in November but will be held out of some drills.
Aaron vandenBerg (ankle) also went under the knife and will face a delayed start to training in 2017.
Mahoney said vandenBerg had been managing his ankle injury throughout the year and had always been scheduled to undergo surgery.
Heritier Lumumba, who missed most of the year recovering from a concussion sustained in round six, is expected to return to training in November.