NORTH Melbourne youngster Luke Davies-Uniacke faces a delayed start to pre-season training this summer, with the midfielder forced to undergo a shoulder reconstruction.
Davies-Uniacke, 20, has been battling a shoulder problem throughout the latter stages of the year, with the club making the decision to send him for surgery this week.
It's expected the promising onballer will miss up to four months, potentially ruling him out until December and meaning a late return to the club for its pre-season campaign.
"It’s something that we’ve been well aware of, but we’ve been able to navigate him through up until now," North Melbourne footy boss Cam Joyce said.
"Luke had an incident earlier in the season when he fended off an opponent and he did some damage to his right shoulder.
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"The discussions about putting him in for an operation have been ongoing and with a potential four-month recovery, now is the right time to allow him to have as much of the pre-season as possible to prepare for a big 2020."
The fourth selection in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft, Davies-Uniacke has played 14 games this season and is averaging 14.9 disposals and 2.4 clearances per match.
He joins fellow North Melbourne teammates Majak Daw (hamstring), Kyron Hayden (Achilles), Ben Jacobs (head/neck), Luke McDonald (fractured fibula) and Ed Vickers-Willis (knee) in being ruled out for the remainder of the season.