FREMANTLE midfielder Michael Barlow has been ruled out for the rest of the season after requiring surgery on the left shoulder he damaged in Friday night's loss to Geelong.
Forward Hayden Ballantyne also requires surgery to repair a fractured cheekbone he suffered in the same game but is expected to return again this season.
Barlow damaged the AC joint after copping a heavy hip-and-shoulder from Cat Lincoln McCarthy in the third term of Friday's clash. He left the ground immediately and did not return.
Scans have revealed that the damage is significant enough to require surgery and Dockers football manager Chris Bond said the lengthy rehabilitation would not allow Barlow to get back this season.
"Michael has proven to be incredibly resilient throughout his career when returning from injury," Bond said.
"But due to the nature of the recovery and rehabilitation program he will start after surgery, Michael will not be available to play again this season."
The 28-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the season, was dropped mid-year due to some indifferent form but he responded with three outstanding performances following his recall.
He then fractured his finger against Collingwood in round 14 and missed a week before returning against Geelong. He collected 17 disposals in the first half but played virtually no part in the second following the shoulder injury.
Ballantyne bravely played out the match on Friday despite fracturing his cheekbone in the second quarter. The Dockers are unclear how long he will be sidelined for but they are confident he will return before the end of the season.
"We know how determined Hayden will be to get back to playing as soon as possible, and he has a history of doing that," Bond said.
"But at this stage we will see how his recovery phase goes and be guided by medical advice to help establish his return date."
Barlow has become the seventh Docker to suffer a season-ending injury after Nat Fyfe (fractured leg), Harley Bennell (calf), Alex Pearce (fractured leg), Brady Grey (ankle), Matthew Uebergang (hamstring) and Harley Balic (wrist) had all endured the same fate.
The return dates of Aaron Sandilands (ribs) and Michael Johnson (hamstring/knee) are still unknown but, like Ballantyne, both men are expected to play again this season.
Hayden Ballantyne bravely played out the game on Friday night. Picture: AFL Media