Greater Western Sydney gun forward Jonathon Patton has suffered a second serious knee injury in as many AFL seasons.
Patton injured his right knee on Sunday and was sent for scans while the Giants stormed home to a 64-point win over Melbourne at the MCG.
Those scans revealed the worst-case scenario for Patton – that he requires a second knee reconstruction in the space of 17 months.
Giants coach Leon Cameron had been initially hopeful that wasn’t the case.
“The doctors are confident it’s not a major injury,” Cameron said before the club received the bad news, adding he had a “sinking feeling” when Patton clutched at his knee in pain during the second term.
“This year he’s been so good for us and really leading the big-man stakes.
“Our thoughts go out to him and his family, I’m hoping he’s OK … because he’s had such a bad run with injuries.”
The 21-year-old, who will reportedly be offered a contract worth $900,000 a season by Western Bulldogs, has suffered a series of knee problems in his 29-game AFL career.
Patton, who attracted comparisons to Jonathan Brown in his junior career, had surgery on his left knee in Sweden to treat patella tendinopathy after being taken with pick No.1 in the 2011 draft.
The shortened pre-season limited Patton to seven games in the Giants’ maiden campaign.
The following year he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during round three and missed the rest of the season.
On Sunday he tore the same ACL, meaning 2015 will be another season of frustrating rehabilitation.
“I was right with him when he hurt his knee,” GWS on-baller Dylan Shiel said.
“Jonny’s been terrific this year and had some pretty big setbacks in his first three years.
“I’m sure he’ll rehab his knee the way he always has and he’ll be back stronger than ever.”
Phil Davis (concussion) and Callan Ward (calf) were also injured in the opening half of Sunday’s match and played no further part.
Davis will be tested this week to assess if he’s able to play Collingwood on Saturday, while Cameron said Ward’s season was likely to be over.