Ben Brown in action during the round 19 match between Melbourne and Adelaide at the MCG in round 19, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

MELBOURNE premiership forward Ben Brown has undergone surgery on Thursday afternoon after scans revealed minor damage to his knee.

The veteran key forward developed some soreness and swelling with scans showing a loose piece of cartilage in the knee joint.

The 31-year-old, who joined the Demons from North Melbourne ahead of the 2021 season, has had an ongoing battle with knee and back issues in recent years.

After managing just seven games in 2023, Brown had taken part in the bulk of the Demons' pre-season program to date as he looked to re-establish himself at AFL level this season.

Tom McDonald and Ben Brown at Melbourne training on May 16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Melbourne footy manager Alan Richardson said Brown would take some time before being able to return to full fitness.

"'Browny' is the ultimate professional, and we know he will attack his rehab program head on," Richardson said.

"At this stage, we expect him to be back to full fitness in approximately six to eight weeks."

The 200cm tall forward has kicked 66 goals in three seasons for the Demons, including eight goals in the first two rounds last year before being struck down with a back injury in round three.

Melbourne will kick off its 2024 campaign in Opening Round against Sydney on Thursday, March 7.