ELI Templeton has started his long road to recovery after having surgery on his fractured left arm on Monday, but St Kilda is unable to confirm whether he will be back this season.
Burnie's Templeton, who broke his left arm just above the elbow tackling Brisbane midfielder Sam Mayes in the early stages of St Kilda's Anzac Day loss to the Lions in Wellington, is expected to remain in hospital in Melbourne until at least today, with the Saints unable to confirm a return date for the rookie.
However, it is expected he will miss about 3-4 months, which if it is closer to the four-month mark would end his season.
``Eli had made a promising start to his first AFL season after being elevated from the Saints' rookie list, so to suffer this injury in round 6 was very disappointing for both him and the club,'' St Kilda head of football Chris Pelchen said yesterday.
``But we are confident the outstanding application that Eli has already shown to his football will see him return to play either later this year or early in 2015.''
Templeton, who was surprisingly overlooked in the national draft, made his debut in round 1 against Melbourne after being upgraded to the senior list.
The third pick in the rookie draft had been in the team ever since, averaging eight touches, four marks and one tackle a game, with the 18-year-old small-forward-midfielder adding some energy to the St Kilda set-up.
The mop-haired blond 18-year-old was a key part of St Kilda's win over Greater Western Sydney in round 2, kicking two vital goals.
His injury could become a blessing for another former Burnie Docker, with the potential for Maverick Weller to be upgraded to the senior list (one of the best in the VFL for Sandringham), with Templeton likely to join Nathan Wright as recent Saints on the club's long-term injury list.
Midfielder-defender Weller, the former Gold Coast Sun who came to the club after being delisted at the end of last season, has 32 games of AFL experience under his belt.