MELBOURNE midfielder Dom Tyson is unlikely to play against North Melbourne on Saturday in the club's opening JLT Community Series clash in Tasmania after succumbing to a calf strain at training.
Tyson was with the rehab group during Saturday's training session at Casey Fields after feeling some tightness in his right calf during a drill, before ending the session early and disappearing into the rooms.
The inside midfielder was on modified duties at training on Monday and AFL.com.au understands he is very much in doubt for the trip to play against the Roos at Kingston Twins Ovals.
Given the nature of the soft-tissue injury, the Demons will be careful with Tyson's return to the field.
Melbourne has its second pre-season match against St Kilda at Casey Fields on March 8, with the match presenting Tyson with the opportunity to get some match conditioning in ahead of a round one clash with Geelong on March 25.
Depending on when he is cleared to re-join contact training, the Demons could also seek permission for the midfielder play in any upcoming Casey practice matches before round one.
Before the calf complaint, Tyson had enjoyed an uninterrupted pre-season and was one of the standouts during the Demons' pre-season camp in Maroochydore earlier this month.
Tyson suffered a partial dislocation of his patella tendon in January ahead of the 2017 season during Melbourne's SAS-style boot camp – the same camp that was cancelled this summer after players expressed their concerns over safety.
The midfielder missed the opening round of the season, but returned in round two and went on to average 25.3 disposals from the 19 matches he played last season.
The 24-year-old is contracted until the end of 2019 and heads into this season with 90 AFL matches to his name.
Co-captain Jack Viney is set to join full training in the next fortnight as he races to be ready for round one after a serious foot injury that has taken longer than anticipated to heal.
Sam Weideman (ankle) is another in doubt for the opening game of the season, while Joel Smith (leg), Dean Kent (shoulder) and Tim Smith are starting to integrate back into full training after injury layoffs over the summer.
Aaron vandenBerg (heel) and Pat McKenna (hamstring) are certain not to be ready for the start of the season after long-term injuries forced them to miss most if not all of the 2017 season.