BRISBANE Lions pair Ryan Harwood and Jono Freeman will have delayed starts to the season, with both to miss up to 12 weeks following surgery.

It wasn't all bad news for the Lions, however, with gun midfielder Daniel Rich making strong progress from his knee reconstruction after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in round three last year.

Rich, who the club says has enjoyed a flawless pre-season and been a standout performer, has passed his Melbourne surgeon's examination with flying colours.

It was a welcome development given the misfortune of defender Harwood and promising forward Freeman.

The Lions have revealed Harwood will have surgery on Monday to alleviate the abdominal and groin pain he has endured in recent weeks.

The 23-year-old, who has played 56 AFL games, is expected to be sidelined for eight to 12 weeks.

Freeman, 20, who played four games last season, had a microdiscectomy on a bulging disc in his back on Thursday night and will also miss up to 12 weeks.

"Both Ryan and Jono were disappointed at having to spend time away from the game but we have to do what is best for the players,' Lions football operations manager Dean Warren told the club website.

"They will both come back stronger and the result will be in the best interest of their long-term careers."

Ryan Harwood is a $411,000 defender in NAB AFL Fantasy this year. Create and fill your AFL Fantasy Classic league by March 2 to win a free AFL Live pass.