Collingwood could be without star midfielder Jordan De Goey for the next three matches as it tries to lock in a finals berth.
The Magpies confirmed on Friday that De Goey would miss Saturday’s clash with North Melbourne because of a quadriceps injury that may linger for another fortnight.
The 26-year-old underwent scans on Thursday after reporting soreness and they revealed a quadriceps strain.
The beneficiary of De Goey’s absence is mid-season draftee Josh Carmichael, who will make his AFL debut against the last-placed Kangaroos at the MCG.
Carmichael, 22, is a powerful midfielder who has averaged 24 disposals in three VFL games for Collingwood’s reserves since being the No.9 selection in the mid-season rookie draft.
He was playing country football in the Sunraysia league last year before his strong SANFL form with West Adelaide put him on the AFL radar.
De Goey joins high-profile pair Darcy Moore (knee) and Brodie Grundy (knee) on the sidelines but the Pies have a softer run in the coming weeks, with bottom-five rivals Adelaide and Essendon to come.
Defender Jack Madgen will have surgery to repair his fractured thumb and miss up to six weeks after sustaining the injury in a training drill on Thursday.
De Goey is averaging 21 disposals, six score involvements and four inside 50s while again splitting time between the midfield and up forward.
The restricted free agent has rarely been out of the news since the pre-season after landing in court for a late-night incident in the United States.
De Goey was also sanctioned for his actions in a video while partying in Bali during the Pies’ mid-season bye, which club CEO Mark Anderson describing as disrespectful towards women.
They also withdrew a lucrative offer to him as a result, which was believed to be a two-year deal with contract ‘triggers’ for two more.
De Goey took personal leave after the Bali incident and missed the round 15 victory over the Giants.