RICHMOND defender David Astbury says being stung by a stingray caused more pain than the two knee dislocations he's suffered in his injury-hit career.
The 24-year-old needed surgery to remove a stingray barb from his left foot after being stung at Port Melbourne beach on Wednesday.
The much-improved defender was wading in waist-deep water during an extra recovery session when he encountered the stingray.
He's now certain to miss the Tigers' round one opener against Carlton on Thursday night but is optimistic of facing the Western Bulldogs in round two.
"It sort of barbed me pretty hard up through the inside of my left foot and into my ankle," Astbury told the Seven Network on Sunday night.
"The poison they have brings on quite a bit of pain and it thins the blood as well so there was obviously a fair bit of bleeding.
"It was more painful than dislocating my kneecap."
A panicked Astbury had to drive himself to the Alfred Hospital and used his hands-free phone speaker to seek assurance from friends and family throughout the trip.
"I didn't have the best run to the Alfred, unfortunately," he said.
"But I spoke to my sister, the club doctor and another one of my friends and they calmed me down."
Astbury has had a terrible run with injuries in recent years.
He was leading the Tigers' best and fairest last season when he dislocated his left patella against Melbourne in round nine.
It came after he suffered the same injury on his right side midway through the 2011 season, which required two operations and cost him nearly 12 months.
The 37-game player said he believed he would overcome his latest setback quickly and be right to face the Bulldogs on April 11.
"I'm looking forward to hopefully putting my hand up for selection in round two," he said.
"Sometimes life throws you a curve-ball and mine was a stingray this time."