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The Brisbane Lions are breathing a sigh of relief with spearhead Joe Daniher avoiding shoulder surgery but still set to miss between four and six AFL games.
The worst-case scenario for the premiership fancies would have been Daniher requiring an operation, potentially ending the key forward's season.
Lions football manager Danny Daly said Daniher's soft tissue injury in his left shoulder could have been worse.
The former Essendon tall was subbed out of Brisbane's important win against the Sydney Swans at the SCG on Sunday due to the injury.
"The outcome today is a fairly good one with Joe not requiring surgery on the shoulder and we can just focus on rehabilitating and getting strength back into it," Daly said.
"While it is disappointing for Joe to miss a few games after stringing together so many consecutively, we're confident we have the forward line depth to cover it whilst he focuses on getting back on the park."
Daniher has enjoyed an outstanding start to his second season with Brisbane, kicking 19 goals in six games after 46 majors last year to remain just three behind Coleman Medal leader Tom Hawkins of Geelong.
The Lions can ill-afford to be without Daniher if they are to make a deep finals run and push for their first premiership since 2003.
Chris Fagan's side will soon regain fellow important forward Eric Hipwood after almost a year on the sidelines due to an ACL surgery.
Meanwhile, Carlton are reeling from news defender Mitch McGovern will require surgery to fix a recurring hamstring injury.
McGovern had been pushing for a recall after being sidelined since round two but injured himself again last week.
The 27-year-old will miss between 10 and 12 weeks and might struggle to play again this season.
Struggling Essendon have also been rocked by a hamstring injury to playmaker Jake Stringer.
The dynamite midfield-forward will be out for up to four weeks after injuring his right hamstring, the different leg to the one that caused him to be sidelined earlier in the season.
"This is a reasonably standard 3-4 week injury and Jake will use this time on the sidelines to ensure a full recovery to return for a strong second half of the season," Bombers football boss Josh Mahoney said.
Luckless Melbourne defender Joel Smith will undergo surgery after injuring his ankle in the Demons' win against Hawthorn.
Smith will miss eight to 10 weeks after fracturing a bone on the inside of his ankle.
Smith was one of the hard-luck stories of the Demons' run to the 2021 premiership after hurting his hamstring in the first week of the finals before being ruled out for the preliminary final.
Fellow defender Michael Hibberd has suffered a minor setback as the veteran attempts to overcome a persistent calf injury.
Hibberd has not played an AFL game since last year's grand final and will have to wait a bit longer to feature at VFL level for the Dees.
The Hawks will again be without key forward Mitch Lewis, who has suffered a non-COVID-19 related illness after missing the clash with Melbourne due to a hamstring strain.
Lewis, and exciting defender Changkuoth Jiath (hamstring), will sit out Saturday's clash with Essendon.