Collingwood have been rocked by the news that foot surgery will likely end silky veteran Daniel Wells' AFL season.
Wells hobbled from the MCG in the second quarter of the Pies' Queen's Birthday win over Melbourne on Monday after his left foot was caught up in a tackle.
He returned to play out the match but scans revealed high-grade damage to the Lisfranc ligament and related bone separation.
"Unfortunately for Daniel, an operation is required," Magpies football chief Geoff Walsh said.
"We'll know what that means, in terms of the rest of this season, after the surgery but it is reasonable to expect that it is a long-term injury.
"Clearly, it's a bitter pill for Daniel to swallow. He had spent a lot of time getting into strong physical shape and ... he was working his way into the season."
The 33-year-old was playing just his fourth game this season after managing 10 in his first year with Collingwood after his free-agent switch from North Melbourne.
The Pies lost just three of the 14 games that Wells featured in. But he has been plagued by calf and achilles injuries.
He is contracted for next season, but will need a significant change of luck and a solid pre-season if he is to feature in Nathan Buckley's plans.
Wells' loss is a major blow to a Collingwood premiership campaign that is headed in the right direction after a shaky start.
The Pies lost their first two games of the season, but are well placed to play finals, in sixth spot on the ladder with an 8-4 record.