Western Bulldogs defender Jason Johannisen will miss a large chunk of this AFL season with his hamstring injury.
The worst-case scenario is he needs surgery that sidelines him until the finals, at best.
Speculation on Sunday was that the injury would put him out of action for at least 10 weeks.
A week after captain Bob Murphy suffered a season-ending knee injury, Johannisen was on crutches after Saturday night’s win over Carlton.
Johannisen suffering the injury to his right hamstring when he snapped for goal from outside 50m.
The circumstances of the injury immediately raised fears that Johannisen had ripped the hamstring off the bone.
The Bulldogs will know more on Monday.
Ruck-forward Tom Boyd and defender Matt Suckling were also injured at Etihad Stadium.
“It’s hard to know … it’s probably not going to be a two-weeker,” coach Luke Beveridge said of Johannisen.
“We’ll be conservative with him, he’s a valuable member of our group.
“We’ll play the longer game with him – however long he needs, he needs.
“But we’re not too sure whether it’s tendon or the belly (of the hamstring).”
Boyd sub-luxed his right shoulder, which was already strapped, while Suckling had to go to the dressing rooms when he rolled an ankle.
Suckling played out the match and earned praise from Beveridge for a strong performance.
“We couldn’t afford to lose another high defender,” the coach said, in reference to Murphy and Johannisen.
Scans will show how badly Johannisen, Suckling and Boyd are hurt, although Beveridge was hopeful on the latter two.
Adding to the injury toll, Josh Prudden will also need a knee reconstruction after he was hurt earlier on Saturday in the VFL.
“Someone ran over a black cat, unfortunately,” Beveridge said.
He was proud of the Bulldogs after the Carlton win, saying they did well under duress.
“We held our nerve enough, we just squandered some turnover opportunities,” he said.
The loss of Murphy and Johannisen is particularly worrying for the Bulldogs because they generate so much run from half-back.
“The boys we’ve lost … are first preference, in Murph and JJ,” Beveridge said.
“We’ll need our incumbents to pick up the speed and perform a really important role that we value in our team.”
Beveridge added Murphy would decide soon when he has the reconstruction.
He also said there was no hurry on the captain making the call on whether his AFL career continues beyond this season.