Bulldogs defender Ryan Gardner to undergo elbow surgery

Western Bulldogs defender Ryan Gardner will miss the start of the AFL season after it was deemed he needs elbow surgery.

Scans have revealed Gardner sustained a small crack to one of the bones in his elbow.

"We've decided that the best course of action to fix the injury is to undergo minor surgery," Bulldogs head of sports medicine Chris Bell said in a statement.

"This operation will repair the area of bone damage and be completed this afternoon."

The Bulldogs say they will monitor Gardner over the next two to three weeks to determine his exact return-to-play plan.

Gardner played a career-high 22 games last season.

It came after he was squeezed out of the side for the 2021 grand-final loss to Melbourne when Alex Keath returned from injury.

Meanwhile, Brisbane veteran Dayne Zorko will miss Thursday's pre-season match against Geelong with a hamstring niggle, but he remains on track to play in round one.

Lions defender Darcy Gardiner, who underwent off-season shoulder surgery, is doubtful for the season opener against Port Adelaide due to a problem with his ankle and Achilles tendon.