Essendon key forward Peter Wright will undergo surgery after dislocating his shoulder and will be sidelined for the first half of the AFL season.
Wright, who sustained the injury in a training mishap on Friday, consulted a specialist who determined an operation was the best course of action.
It is a huge blow for Essendon ahead of their first game under new coach Brad Scott, against Hawthorn at the MCG on Sunday.
Bombers performance manager Daniel McPherson said the club will take a conservative approach with Wright's recovery.
"We're really disappointed for Pete," McPherson said in a club statement.
"He has had a terrific preseason and was in great shape leading into Sunday.
"The results of yesterday's scan indicate surgery is required to properly repair the injury.
"Pete is an incredibly important part of our future, so we'll take the necessary time to get this right.
"We'll look forward to welcoming him back into the team in the second half of the season."
On Friday morning, Essendon announced Wright had signed a new four-year contract with the club.
The 203cm forward went down injured just hours later, adding to the Bombers' woes in attack, with Jake Stringer (hamstring) already out of action.
The injuries put pressure on recruit Sam Weideman and young forward Harrison Jones to shoulder the load in attack against Hawthorn.
Wright, 26, is coming off a career-best 53 goals in 2022, when he claimed Essendon's best-and-fairest award.
Before the injury, Scott had hailed Wright's re-signing as a massive show of faith in the Bombers' direction under new leadership.