COLLINGWOOD midfielder Taylor Adams will be sidelined for up to eight weeks with a finger injury.
On a day in which Magpie match-winner Jordan De Goey made a shock return to the training track, all but confirming he will be fit for round one, the Pies revealed Adams would undergo surgery to repair a tendon injury.
Adams will be out of action for four to eight weeks, but is more likely to be unavailable for five or six weeks, meaning he would miss the opening two or three rounds.
It is now 22 days until Collingwood faces Geelong in its season opener at the MCG on Friday, March 22.
The Pies hard nut has carried the problem for a couple of weeks and played in the club's scratch match against Melbourne on Friday.
During a consultation with a specialist on Thursday, a splint was discussed but it was decided surgery would provide the best result.
"The finger continually displaces, and has done so for some time. It had reached the stage where bracing the finger or taping it were not adequate solutions and it was not improving," Collingwood football manager Geoff Walsh said.
"Tay will be able to keep his aerobic fitness high and, being the professional he is, he will make sure that he doesn't miss a day more of the season than he has to. It is likely, though, that he will miss the first couple of rounds of the AFL season. We’ll know more, obviously, once his recovery has begun."
Although the Magpies boast a rich, star-studded midfield, the Adams setback could prove a considerable blow given he has taken his game and particularly his leadership to new levels this pre-season.
The 25-year-old was generally regarded as their best player in their Grand Final loss to West Coast when he finished second in the voting for the Norm Smith Medal behind Eagles runner Luke Shuey.
The Adams injury dulled the enthusiasm of Pies fans who were excited by De Goey's progress on Thursday morning.
Just 13 days after suffering a left mid-foot sprain that was feared would jeopardise his availability for the early rounds, De Goey completed 30 minutes of light run-throughs over 100-150m at Olympic Park on Thursday morning.
The brilliant 22-year-old moved with freedom and apparently without discomfort and, just to prove he was well and truly on the mend, also nailed a long shot from near the boundary on the 'wrong' side for a right footer.
De Goey also had a short kick-to-kick session with veteran Daniel Wells (foot), who is also on restricted duties. However, he didn't kick on his left foot.
The Magpies are yet to reveal a timeframe for De Goey's return, but on Thursday's showing he would seem a good chance of playing at least one practice match before the start of the premiership season.
The powerful forward/midfielder led the Magpies' goalkicking last year with 48 goals in 21 games to be instrumental in the club's rise to a Grand Final.
Also making inroads were Wells, Lynden Dunn (knee) and Jeremy Howe (thigh), who were each involved in some competitive and ball movement work.
The Pies had earlier announced that coach Nathan Buckley's contract had been extended to 2021.
At the club's family day on Saturday, Buckley will hand over the running of the training session to his team leaders, ahead of their first JLT Community Series fixture against Fremantle at Joondalup on Monday.