NORTH Melbourne captain Andrew Swallow is facing several months of rehabilitation after rupturing his left Achilles tendon in Saturday's 122-point win over Melbourne.
The midfielder was subbed out of the game during the third quarter with club medicos fearing the worst.
Kangaroos coach Brad Scott said immediately after the game that the news was unlikely to be positive.
"He left early in the last quarter to go to hospital to get a scan but it's very rare that the medical staff are so certain about an injury," Scott said.
"Even when they're 90 per cent sure they wait to get confirmation. But they're confident it’s a ruptured Achilles tendon, so you're looking at anything around the 12-month mark for that sort of injury.
"It's really disappointing for everyone associated with our club, and footy fans in general."
Swallow hasn't missed a game in five years, and it's yet to be decided whether vice-captains Jack Ziebell and Drew Petrie will share the leadership in his absence.

Scott was loath to blame the playing surface at Etihad Stadium for the injury, although he did suggest it could be looked at.
"I'm not a turf expert," Scott said.
"I think when the AFL takes over the stadium it will be a football ground. I'm always worried when I see concerts here, because I see it as a football ground.
"I think that Etihad has done a remarkable job keeping the surface in great condition all year. We love playing here so we've got no concerns, but I'm sure the experts will have a look at that, and try to minimise and mitigate injuries in the future."
Jacqui Reed is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow her on Twitter @JacquiReedAFL