STAR Hawthorn forward Jarryd Roughead is set to undergo further tests after having a melanoma removed from his lip, and the timing of his return to football is uncertain.
Roughead underwent the procedure in hospital on Wednesday night after test results from a lesion on his lip returned positive for melanoma.
Roughead will miss Friday night's crunch game against Collingwood and won't return for at least two to three weeks, Hawthorn football operations manager Chris Fagan said.
"We don’t know when he'll be back. What we do know is that there's still a few more tests that they need to do on the skin around the lip," Fagan said.
"We'll probably know those results mid-to-late next week. Hopefully they'll be all clear.
"If they are then it's just a matter of waiting for Jarryd's lip where he's had the operation – there's a decent scar there – to clear up.
"When the doctors think he's OK to resume playing football, then he will. If everything goes well he might be available in two or three weeks' time, but we'll just see."
Roughead could return to non-contact training next week. Fagan said the 28-year-old was in good spirits despite the scare.
"We were all a little bit stunned on Tuesday, it would be fair to say. He's handled it really well. He's had good support from his family and friends and the football club," Fagan said.
"He sent through a photo to me last night after his surgery with his big dial and the scar down the front and he wanted us to make sure that we showed the boys this morning, so he's in good spirits and looking forward to making a good recovery."
The Melanoma Institute of Australia website says the cancer is the third most common form of cancer in Australia, with more than 12,500 new cases diagnosed each year.
Melanoma is the most common cancer found in Australians aged 15 to 39.
Fagan said fair-skinned Roughead was extremely careful protecting himself from the sun and had skin check-ups every six months.
"Jarryd is the most diligent player, he's always got plenty of sunscreen on whenever he trains, wears a hat, long sleeves on the hottest days – he does all the right things," Fagan said.
"So that's a really good message to everybody about just how careful you have to be."
Jordan Roughead said he had been in contact with his cousin via text messages, and while the news was not good he hoped it was nothing major.
"I'm just going to let him rest and recuperate for the next few days and I'll get on the phone to him next week and hopefully catch up," the Bulldogs vice-captain said.
"(It's) pretty shattering news for him, but he's getting it fixed up and hopefully it's just a minor scare and he's back on the field soon.
"He's a tough character and he actually sent me a text this morning saying 'Rougheads and the sun don't agree', so I might have to whack a bit more sunscreen on over the preseason."
The Hawks face Collingwood in a crunch game at the MCG on Friday night, already without key defender James Frawley.
Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said there are a number of tall players in contention to come into the side.
Ruck/forward Ben McEvoy has been in stellar form in the VFL, while Clarkson said developing forwards Tim O'Brien and James Sicily, plus defender Angus Litherland, are in the mix.
AFL.com.au reported on Tuesday premiership hero Matt Spangher was a chance to replace Frawley, who will miss at least four weeks due to a shoulder injury.
Ryan Schoenmakers is also a chance for a senior recall, with Cyril Rioli certain to return after attending a funeral in Darwin last week and missing the win over Essendon.
Roughead has played 219 games since being taken with pick two in the 2004 NAB AFL Draft.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley heaped praise on Roughead in his weekly press conference on Wednesday.
"Roughy, he plays deep, he plays high, he plays midfield, bit of wing, bit of fifth and sixth high forward, he is very mobile,’’ Buckley said.
"Probably the most dominant big man in the competition over the last five or six years in all his roles."
After playing the Magpies, the Hawks face Fremantle and the Sydney Swans in a tough stretch of matches.