ESSENDON youngster Jason Ashby has dislocated his kneecap and is facing up to two months on the sidelines.
While Ashby, 21, is on the fringe of the Bombers’ best 22, the injury is a further blow to the club's already depleted squad.
The latest setback happened in a VFL practice match at the weekend.
It followed a minor ankle injury Ashby sustained in the Bombers’ first NAB Challenge game against Carlton.
"Jason went down with a knee problem," Essendon's high performance manager Justin Crow said.
"We had that scanned and it turns out he had a small patella dislocation, or kneecap dislocation.
"We're looking at a couple of months out with that but sometimes players do a little bit better so there is a bit of hope there for Jase."
The club also confirmed Jayden Laverde is still battling an ankle injury, with his recovery slower than expected.
Draftee Darcy Parish and top-up recruit Ryan Crowley are expected to join in training this week.
Essendon faces Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium in round one.