IT APPEARS unlikely Port Adelaide backman Jack Watts will return in 2019 after having surgery on a broken right fibula and partially dislocated right ankle in the Power's win over Carlton on Saturday.
Watts, 28, was hurt early in the final term when his leg was caught under Dale Thomas while being tackled.
Port Adelaide head of medical services Tim O'Leary didn't specify a timeframe for Watts but acknowledged it would be long stint on the sidelines.
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"Jack underwent successful surgery earlier today (Sunday) and will commence his rehab process as soon as possible," O'Leary said.
"Jack has obviously suffered a serious injury and will therefore be sidelined for an extended period of time. It's too early to be putting a specific timeline on his recovery at this stage."
Watts was emotional when speaking about his tumultuous off-season last week.
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It's a tough blow for Port, which has surprised pundits to start the season undefeated.
Somewhat soothing the impact is the imminent return of rebounding defender Hamish Hartlett, who has lined up in two straight games after a right knee reconstruction.
Karl Amon will have scans on Monday after suffering a medial sprain in his left knee.