GOLD Coast has suffered another cruel injury blow, with small forward Brandon Matera unlikely to play again this year after surgery on a high ankle sprain on Tuesday night.
Matera had a screw inserted into the ankle injured against Geelong on Saturday night and is expected to miss 10-12 weeks.
The result was worse than first thought and at best could have him available for the final two rounds of the season.
Gold Coast assistant coach Dean Solomon delivered the bad news on Wednesday.
"It's very disappointing for Matera to have an injury like that," he said.
"(It's a) high ankle sprain. I don't really know in depth, but he's had a screw put in. It's a 10-12 week injury.
"He had that operated on last night and recovery started today."
Matera's injury adds to a mounting toll for the Suns that includes the season-ending ruptured ACL of ruckman Zac Smith.
Karmichael Hunt (hamstring) and Charlie Dixon (ankle) have both missed a month of action, while Jared Brennan (knee) missed the loss against Geelong.
All three will train at Metricon Stadium on Wednesday night, but have to get through unscathed to be considered a chance of selection for Saturday night's home match against North Melbourne.
Hunt and Dixon may still be forced to return through the reserves.
Solomon said although the injury toll was mounting, the Suns were now starting to build the depth to cope.
"The experiences over the last two years in getting games into those players has helped us if we have had injuries this year," he said.
"Players that have already played AFL footy can come in and play and stand up and play good football.
"We've rested guys through the season and through training sessions to maintain their freshness. We're in a good place at the moment."
He said despite the Kangaroos' identical 4-6 win-loss record to the Suns, Gold Coast was treating them like a top-eight opponent.
"Where they're sitting on the ladder doesn’t really reflect what kind of side they are. We know it's a massive challenge this weekend."
Michael Whiting covers Gold Coast news for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_mikewhiting