Fremantle captain Nat Fyfe could miss up to another six weeks of the AFL season after undergoing back surgery.
Fyfe, who missed the Dockers’ round-one win over Adelaide, will have a procedure next week to alleviate nerve pressure.
The two-time Brownlow Medal winner sustained the injury while recovering from a shoulder reconstruction during an interrupted pre-season.
“In that big push to get my body back up to speed to put the body weight back on and be strong, it hasn’t recovered over the last week as we would have liked,” Fyfe said on The Project.
“It is looking likely at this stage, early next week I will have a small procedure to try and alleviate the pressure on the nerve.
“That could be three to six weeks (recovering), unless something happens over the weekend drastically, but that is what I am looking at.
“(It is) a disc prolapse pushing onto the nerve which is going down my right leg.”
Fyfe has had a series of complications from his shoulder reconstruction last July, which ended his 2021 season early.
It included a nasty infection that hampered the 30-year-old’s preparation for the 2022 season.
“That (shoulder) is fully healed, but there’s always going to be a risk when you push so hard to get yourself back up to speed in a condensed time frame that you are going to put the rest of your body at risk,” Fyfe said.
“What this does is give my shoulder another couple of weeks to recover, so that it is fully healed.
“The issue was just the global work going into my body, but it gave the signal to my body to ‘calm down’ and that I need to rest for a couple more weeks, which is what I will do.”
Fremantle host St Kilda at Optus Stadium on Sunday, looking for a 2-0 start to the season for the first time since 2015.
Dockers veteran David Mundy and versatile tall Brennan Cox are unavailable because of COVID-19 protocols but ruckman Sean Darcy and defender Joel Hamling have been named to return from injury.