JOE DANIHER will miss the rest of the season after suffering a relapse of his debilitating groin injury.
The Bombers confirmed on Thursday that the key forward would likely need surgery to correct the osteitis pubis issue that has plagued his past two years.
"Joe has experienced a return in symptoms over recent weeks, including some loss of power and strength in his groin area," said Essendon football manager Dan Richardson.
"Last year Joe went through a conservative strength and rehabilitation program, which included rest, and given the nature of this injury, we needed to explore a number of injury management options.
GM of Football Dan Richardson spoke moments ago about Joe Daniher's injury. pic.twitter.com/oBnA8Lcfui— Essendon FC (@essendonfc) May 23, 2019
"After thorough consultation, it has been determined that the most likely course of action now is to treat the osteitis pubis injury through surgery, which will be confirmed following further specialist consultation later next week.
"While it's incredibly disappointing to lose a player of Joe's calibre for the remainder of the season, the decision was made with the long-term health and welfare of Joe as the utmost priority."
Daniher has played four games this season, and was rushed back into the Bombers' line-up for its Good Friday clash with North Melbourne.
That cost the Bombers a $20,000 fine after he was a late inclusion from outside the team's emergencies list.
He booted four goals against Collingwood on Anzac Day in a reminder of his brilliant ability around goal, but will sit out the rest of the season in a bid to overcome the problem.
"I've felt like I have done everything I could to get back to this point, but with this relapse, our options are now exhausted, which is obviously disappointing," Daniher said.
"We'll know more next week in terms of the surgery, but my focus will now be on my rehabilitation process and supporting my teammates in any way I can off the field for the remainder of the season."
OH NO, JOE Bombers fear for sore Daniher
The 25-year-old has only played 11 senior games since he was named an All Australian and won the Bombers' best and fairest in 2017, when he booted 65 goals and spearheaded Essendon's forward line.
The club had been cautious with his rehabilitation since he was first diagnosed with the groin injury after round seven last year.
He played in this year's JLT Community Series but then went down with a calf injury before returning to face the Roos.
Essendon's forward half has been hit hard by injuries with season, with Daniher, Orazio Fantasia, Shaun McKernan, Mitch Brown and James Stewart all missing significant chunks of football.