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Surgery likely to end speed Demon's season, high-flyer done

Stronger Cotch ready to return, Clarko addresses 'elephant in the room' Nat Edwards with all the latest news

MELBOURNE small forward Jeff Garlett is highly unlikely to play again in 2019, while teammate Joel Smith's season is over as injuries continue to take their toll on the club's season. 

Garlett dislocated his shoulder at training last week and requires surgery, and it's a wait and see proposition as to whether a line would be completely drawn through his season.

FULL INJURY LIST Who's ruled out and who's a test?

"Jeff's having surgery in a couple of weeks' time," Melbourne's elite performance manager David Misson told the club website.

"The surgeon was quite strong on recommending we go down the surgical line.

"Essentially, it probably means that his season is done, but we'll wait and see how he comes out of that surgery."

Smith initially injured his groin in the second JLT Series match against Brisbane and has not been seen this year. 

"We've attempted to rehab Joel's groin conservatively and it wasn't really making a lot of progress, so we felt we needed to back off his running for a period of time," Misson said. 

"We're going to have another good crack at conservative management in two or three weeks' time, hoping that the period of off-loading has helped that area heal. 

Joel Smith won't play again this seaso. Pic: AFL Photos

"What that means is he won't play again this season. Our aim is to really get him up and going for pre-season next year."

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Kade Kolodjashnij's concussion concerns have continued after suffering another head knock in the VFL, while tall Declan Keilty is out for a month after injuring his foot in the same game.

Billy Stretch is also suffering from a foot complaint and didn't play at any level last weekend.

"Billy just reported a little bit of foot soreness prior to the VFL game on the weekend," Misson said.

"He's obviously had some issues in that area previously, so we want to be pretty cautious, but it doesn't look to be anything too serious."

In better news, Michael Hibberd is a test to return this week after needing another operation several weeks ago to reattach the plate to his broken collarbone, Jake Lever (bone bruising on his reconstructed knee) may return next week, while Neville Jetta may play VFL next weekend in his return from a torn meniscus. 

Key back Oscar McDonald will play VFL this weekend after undergoing a "mini pre-season".

"We just feel he needed to reset physically and probably mentally, and he looks unbelievable now," Misson said.

"He's done some great work in the gym, he looks strong, really fit, and he's done some really specific conditioning over and above all the footy work he's done.

"We're really pleased with how he's approached it and we're quietly confident it's going to produce some really good results for Oscar."

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