Hawthorn have ruled a line through Chad Wingard for the rest of the AFL season in a bid to get the star forward fit and firing in 2023.
Wingard is yet to play more than 17 games in a season since crossing from Port Adelaide to Hawthorn at the end of 2018.
The 28-year-old managed just 10 games this year before suffering a hamstring strain in June just hours after being cleared to return from a calf injury.
It was initially hoped the hamstring injury would only sideline Wingard for several weeks, but his progress has been slow and the risk of returning this year was deemed too high.
“He is still not progressing well enough, so at best it was looking like it would be the last game of the year,” Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell said ahead of Sunday’s clash with West Coast at the MCG.
“It isn’t worth it. We’ve decided to rule him out for the rest of the season.
“He is a bit frustrated, but it’s just not coming along as quickly (as we want).
“We really need him to have a strong pre-season and get on top of this lack of continuity that he’s had, particularly this season, but over the last couple of years.”
Forward Jack Gunston, who missed last week’s 32-point win over Adelaide following the death of his father Ray Gunston, will miss another week.
“He’s having a really tough week planning a whole range of things,” MItchell said.
“He’s organising the funeral for Friday.
“He came in this morning and did a few things. But he hasn’t trained with us and he’s coming off a sore ankle.
“So he won’t play this week. We expect him to be available next week, but by the same token it’s going to be up to him if he feels comfortable and ready to play.”