Elite Brisbane Lions midfielder Dayne Beams looks set to miss at least half the AFL season.
Lions coach Justin Leppitsch had initially feared the former All-Australian would miss the first month of games with knee tendinitis.
But Leppitsch said on Thursday there’s no deadline in sight and they’re taking a very conservative approach to the recovery of last season’s joint club best-and-fairest winner.
“As a coach, you’re always taking the pessimistic approach and putting another month or two on where he should be,” Leppitsch said.
“My brain’s saying, ‘Oh well, we’ll see him in the second half of the year’, and hopefully that happens.”
The tendinitis flared just as the former Collingwood premiership player had recovered from off-season shoulder surgery.
“You don’t want to put any pressure on that rehab, particularly with a tendon,” Leppitsch said.
“Tendons are funny things. Sometimes it’s two steps forward, one step back, which it has been over the last month-and-a-half.
“It can improve quickly and we can potentially have him back before that period, but we’ll take a very conservative approach.”
Beams and suspended midfielder Dayne Zorko will be the notable absentees at Brisbane’s season opener against West Coast in Perth on Sunday.
Lions captain Tom Rockliff (hamstring) plus small forwards Allen Christensen (finger) and Josh Green (foot) will play despite not featuring in pre-season action.
Beams’ injury news is a body blow for the Lions, who had been celebrating the re-signing of midfielder Daniel Rich.
The 26-year-old became the 11th player to re-sign since August when he agreed to a five-year contract extension he hopes will make him a Lion for life.