ESSENDON is preparing to be without star forward Devon Smith for an extended period as he faces surgery on his sore right knee.
Last year's club champion has had to manage the problematic joint in past seasons, and missed the round five clash with discomfort.
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However, Smith suffered a new flare-up during the narrow loss to the Swans at the SCG and the club fears he could miss up to two months.
"He had a new incident on Friday night with that knee and investigations into that this week have identified what they think the problem is," coach John Worsfold said.
"He needs to see a specialist so we're waiting on that final call, but it is something that may require surgery to correct ... generally any knee surgery of that type is six to eight weeks before he would be available."
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Smith was an instant hit when he arrived at Tullamarine last year, laying a VFL/AFL record 186 tackles for the season to go with 22 disposals a game and a season total of 17 goals.
However, his output has been down this year as he has struggled to reach full fitness.
In more positive news, Joe Daniher, who was rested last week against the Swans, is set to return to spearhead Essendon's attack, which has lacked marking targets in recent weeks.