MELBOURNE defender Colin Garland will miss the next four to six weeks of preseason training after having surgery on his right ankle.
The 25-year-old from Wynyard, who has played 101 games for the Demons and finished runner-up in their best and fairest last year, will have the small bone spur, which had flared up in recent weeks, shaved in what football manager Josh Mahoney said on the Demons' website was a "minor operation".
"By having this operation now, it will allow Colin enough time to recover before the start of the season and prevent the potential of it disrupting his season," Mahoney said.
The news comes in the same week that Essendon ruckman Thomas Bellchambers had surgery to repair damaged ligaments in his left ankle.
Essendon doctor Bruce Reid earlier this week told the Bombers' website that the 24-year-old from Launceston could be back by the round 6 Anzac Day Blockbuster with Collingwood following the operation's success.
"Hopefully he is on the training track at 10 weeks, can play at 12 (weeks) - it is hard to predict exactly, but that would be roughly the time-frame," Dr Reid said.
"He will be in a boot for a few weeks, then he will be in a brace for a few weeks, but after two or three weeks we will be mobilising the ankle in the pool."