Richmond have put veteran Brett Deledio in cotton wool for the rest of the AFL season after making slow progress in his recovery from a calf injury.
Deledio experienced calf tightness during the halftime break of the Tigers’ round-17 win over Essendon and was benched for the second half.
The 29-year-old has been managed through pre-season training in recent years due to recurring calf-achilles tendon issues.
This latest injury wasn’t initially thought to be serious but, three weeks later, the veteran had been restricted in his progression through a running program.
With the Tigers out of finals contention in 13th spot on the ladder with three games remaining, the club decided to take a conservative approach with the star forward-midfielder.
“Brett loves to compete with his teammates each week, but unfortunately he won’t make it back in time to play this season,” Richmond football chief Dan Richardson said on Wednesday.
“Brett’s an outstanding leader both on and off the field, and an important player in our team; we look forward to him being available for the start of pre-season.
“We’re confident, with a full pre-season, we’ll see Brett playing more consistently next year after missing a number of games this season due to injury.”
Deledio played 140 consecutive games in an unbroken streak from 2007-14 before he started to have lower-leg issues.
He managed just 11 matches this season to take his career tally to 243.