St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt was carried off on a stretcher after hurting his right knee late in their 30-point AFL round one loss to Melbourne.
Riewoldt hyperextended the knee as he turned in a contest and play was held up for several minutes as he was taken from the ground in the Saturday twilight match at Docklands Stadium.
Riewoldt had kicked four goals and was among the Saints’ best early in the clash, but his team succumbed to a 18.12 (120) to 13.12 (90) without him.
The 34-year-old gave up the captaincy this year, after 11 seasons in the role, with Jarryn Geary succeeding him.
Melbourne snapped a 14-game losing streak against St Kilda and it was their first win over the Saints since the 2006 elimination final.
The Demons had a wobbly start, trailing by 24 points early in the second quarter but they wrested control with a 10-goal run.
Ruckman Max Gawn was outstanding with 49 hitouts, while midfielders Clayton Oliver, Jordan Lewis and Nathan Jones all shone.
Jesse Hogan and Jeff Garlett kicked three goals apiece for Melbourne.
Apart from Riewoldt’s potentially serious injury, there was more bad news for St Kilda before the first bounce when key forward Paddy McCartin was a late withdrawal with hamstring tightness.
Riewoldt topped a run of injuries during the match, with Melbourne first-gamer Joel Smith suffering a dislocated shoulder just 17 minutes into the opening quarter.
Gawn was able to keep playing after needing treatment for back spasms, while Nathan Wright also spent time off the ground because of a head knock.