North Melbourne have sent forward Jarrad Waite for surgery, believing it’s the best way to have the big man fit and firing for the AFL finals.
Waite has endured a hip complaint since round 11 and has played just three times for the Kangaroos since then.
Last Saturday’s win over St Kilda saw the final straw.
The issue came to a head when he buckled after scoring his second goal, prompting the Roos to take action.
“Jarrad will be heading in for a very minor hip arthroscope this week so we can see exactly what’s going on,” Kangaroos football director Geoff Walsh said on Monday.
“We’ve tried a non-invasive approach with his treatment but following on from the issues he had on Saturday night, we’ve decided this is the best course of action in order to have him ready for the pointy end of the season.”
The 33-year-old has kicked 29 goals in 2016, forming a lethal three-pronged attack with Drew Petrie and Ben Brown as the Kangaroos stormed to their 9-0 start to the season.
Just two of those goals have come since round nine, showing Waite’s drop-off.
Given the Kangaroos have all but locked in finals football after the victory over St Kilda – which keeps them three wins clear of ninth place with four matches to play – the timing is good.
Waite’s injury could open the door for Majak Daw to return to the seniors.
Daw, 25, has played just four AFL matches this season, prompting suggestions he could find a new home in 2017.
He was dominant for North Melbourne’s VFL affiliate Werribee in their 63-point win over Northern Blues on Sunday, kicking four goals.
Young guns Sam Durdin, 20, and Ben McKay, 18, also impressed.
Durdin kicked four goals of his own, gathering 22 disposals, while McKay – playing against his fellow AFL-listed brother Harry – snared two.