Jobe Watson will miss at least two months of the AFL season after scans revealed a worse-than-expected injury for the Essendon captain.
Watson will have surgery on Tuesday to heal a torn tendon in his hip, ruling him out for eight to ten weeks.
The innocuous-looking injury occurred in the final quarter of Essendon’s 15-point win over GWS Giants on Saturday.
With just eleven matches left in the season, Watson may have played his last game of football this year.
Despite now entering a race to be fit before season’s end – and any finals the Bombers might make – he told the club’s website he would not be rushing back.
“I think the timeframe is a bit irrelevant because I just want to make sure that the injury heals properly and make sure it is right,” he said.
“It would be great to come back and if the team is playing finals then it would be wonderful to be part of it.
“The priority is for the injury to heal first.”
His father, Channel Seven commentator Tim Watson, said club doctor Bruce Reid had not seen a similar injury in more than thirty years at the club.
“He’ll go into hospital tomorrow and have surgery tomorrow,” Watson senior said.
“They believe it will heal quicker and it will also heal stronger in the long-term.
“It’s a very unusual injury but he will make a full recovery.
Reid confirmed the injury was rare in football.
“Jobe has suffered a tear to the rectus femoris tendon right where it is attached to the hip bone which is a very uncommon injury,” Reid said.
“The sooner you can sew the two ends back together, the better the healing will be, so he will go in for surgery in the next few days.”
Tim Watson said his son was “really disappointed” and he was taking a philosophical approach.
“He was preparing himself for the worst… and that was confirmed but he understands that’s all part of the game,” he said.
“Everybody gets (a major injury) eventually in this game.”