CARLTON star forward Charlie Curnow is in serious danger of missing the season opener against Richmond after accidentally fracturing his kneecap.

Curnow has had a torrid time with his right knee in 2019, twice injuring it within the season itself (missing a cumulative 10 matches) before dislocating his kneecap in a casual game of basketball, as reported by in early October. 

The 22-year-old was taken straight to hospital after the latest incident – when he slipped on tiles while walking upstairs on Wednesday – and underwent surgery on Thursday.

The Carlton website said the slip caused his right quadricep to tightly contract, putting a large force through his knee, and his still-weak kneecap gave way.

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"The recovery time for a fractured kneecap is typically 3-4 months. This will delay his return to running until the New Year, which means it is unlikely he will be available for our pre-season games in late February and early March," Carlton head of football Brad Lloyd said.

"Charlie is understandably very disappointed right now but our entire football club, and I’m sure our members included, will give Charlie all the support he needs to get through this frustrating period. 

"He is a resilient character, and we have no doubt – knowing the competitor he is – he will be back to playing good football in the Navy Blue in 2020."

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Curnow has kicked 77 goals from his 58 games since being selected by Carlton with pick No.12 in the 2015 NAB AFL Draft.