Dustin Fletcher may have already played his last AFL game, but the Essendon veteran won’t be upset if his 400th match turns out to be his last.
The 40-year-old reached his 400-game milestone against Richmond in round nine and has been sidelined by a groin issue since.
Fletcher maintains that he is yet to decide if he will attempt to play on next year but it’s a prospect that looks increasingly unlikely given the severity of the current issue.
Club doctor Bruce Reid said that the veteran defender had made “very little progress” in the past six weeks in his recovery from the injury that also involves some abdominal tendinitis.
The associated loss of physical conditioning means Fletcher will battle to play a farewell game this year.
“I’m not worried, to be honest,” Fletcher said on Tuesday.
“To play 400 games is fantastic. To have your family there and teammates that might’ve played five games … to see them at my game was something that I’ll always remember.
“To sneak a beer in after the game with them is what you play footy for.”
Reid told the club’s website that it was impossible to put a timeframe on when the injury would heal.
Fletcher knows he faces a fight to get back on the field but he’s up for the challenge.
“It’s a bit disappointing but I’ll do my best to try and get back … have a bit of a run,” he said.
“It’s great to play 400 but you still want to try and push it out.
“But a 40-year-old with a bit of a sore groin probably doesn’t look too flash.
“We’ll have to see how we go in the next six weeks.”