Champion Hawthorn AFL forward Jarryd Roughead will be sidelined indefinitely after he suffered a recurrence of melanoma.
Roughead missed two games last season after he had a melanoma removed from his lower lip.
The 29-year-old four-time premiership star will undergo a biopsy to determine the best form of treatment.
“Jarryd went for a regular check-up yesterday and unfortunately a recurrence of melanoma was detected,” Hawks football chief Chris Fagan said.
“The positive is that it’s been picked up early and Jarryd is in the best hands possible.”
The club has not set a timeline for Roughead’s return to the field.
“Jarryd’s health is the most important issue at this time,” Fagan said.
“His long-term playing future is very much secondary to that and is not even a consideration at this point in time.
“This is a private medical matter and we would ask everyone to respect Jarryd and his family’s request for privacy during this time.”
Roughead hasn’t featured for the Hawks this season after he underwent knee surgery in February.
The veteran of 231 matches was making good progress in his recovery from the knee injury, having returned to training early this month.
In his absence, the Hawks have won six of their first eight matches to sit sixth on the ladder ahead of Friday night’s big MCG match against Sydney.