Carlton will be missing Sam Walsh for at least the first month of the AFL season after it was revealed he is suffering with an ankle syndesmosis injury.
Carlton are priced at 19/10 to finish in the top eight of the AFL in the 2022 campaign and the news that Walsh will miss the start comes as a big blow.
The 21-year-old midfielder has a huge role to play as Carlton push for finals footy in the new season and the club will be hoping that his recovery is a smooth one.
Walsh picked up the injury in match simulation at training last week and further assessment of the problem has confirmed that surgery is required to fix it.
Carlton are staying positive though and believe the large volume of training Walsh has put in so far in pre-season will boost his chances of making an early-season return.
"It is obviously disappointing news for Sam," Blues football boss Brad Lloyd told reporters. "He'd completed every session so far over the summer but unfortunately these incidents are a part of footy.
"Sam will throw everything in to his rehab and his teammates will continue to do the same for the start of the season."
Walsh had been riding the crest of a wave after just penning a new four-year deal and being elevated to the role of vice-captain.
"We'll continue to assess Sam throughout his recovery, at this stage we expect him to be available to play again after the first month of the season has been complete," Lloyd added.
"There has been some real competition for spots in that midfield group over the summer so we look forward to seeing who puts their hand up and takes their chance over the coming weeks."