MELBOURNE small defender Neville Jetta will be on the sidelines for 8-10 weeks, needing surgery on a torn meniscus.

The 29-year-old injured his knee in the first half of Saturday's 40-point loss to St Kilda and will undergo surgery on Tuesday. 

The injury is unrelated to knee soreness that forced Jetta out of Melbourne's round four win over Sydney. 

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"Scans post-game have shown that he has a significant tear in his lateral meniscus which will require surgery," Melbourne general manager of football operations Josh Mahoney told

"This surgery will happen tomorrow, and we expect Neville to miss an extended period of time – most likely 8-10 weeks. 

"This is unfortunate for Neville and the backline, but it provides an opportunity for some other guys to step up, and he will continue to lead from the sidelines." 

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Eight weeks takes Jetta up to the mid-season bye, meaning his earliest return is most likely against Fremantle in round 14.

Melbourne's VFL side Casey had a bye over the weekend but played a practice match against a representative Australian under-18 side.

Most AFL-listed Demons were rested with a four-day turnaround before Wednesday night's Anzac Day Eve clash with Richmond, but the versatile Alex Neal-Bullen did play.

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