GEELONG'S Steven Motlop could face knee surgery to correct the patella tendonitis issue he carried throughout the 2013 season.
The 22-year-old emerged as one of the Cats' most exciting young players last season, averaging 18 disposals and nearly two goals a game.
The club has remained cautious on Motlop so far this summer, but his knee complaint hasn't eased.
The prospect of surgery is an unwanted setback, but football manager Neil Balme said if an operation was required, it wouldn't rule Motlop out of action for too long.
"The injury is something Steven has managed through the 2013 season and unfortunately it is still causing him some problems," Balme told the club's website.
"His workload has been managed so far but we aren't seeing the results from this we had hoped.
"We are unsure yet whether taking the surgical option is the best course of action but a decision will be made on that in due course.
"We don't imagine if we went with the surgery option it would cause him to miss a significant part of the start of the season as it would be fairly minor."