HAWTHORN forward Jack Gunston will be absent from pre-season training until February, having undergone surgery earlier this week on a troublesome ankle injury.
Gunston experienced some discomfort upon returning from his summer holidays, with the club making the decision to send its star goalkicker under the knife on Monday.
PLAY AFL FANTASY Click here to pre-register and receive our early announcements
"Jack is now home recovering and looking forward to getting back into training in the new year, with a view to return to training as soon as possible," Hawthorn's footy boss Graham Wright said in a statement.
Gunston, a triple premiership player with Hawthorn and a member of the 2018 Virgin Australia AFL All Australian side, kicked just 26 goals from 20 games in a lean season throughout the 2019 campaign.
2019'S BIGGEST STORIES We count down the top 50 stories of the year 50-41
His ankle setback means he will now be unlikely to feature in Hawthorn's opening Marsh Community Series clash, which will take place on Thursday, February 20 against St Kilda at RSEA Park.
Promisingly, Hawthorn bolstered its key-position stocks at either end of the field over the off-season. It recruiting key forward and former No.1 draft pick Jonathon Patton from Greater Western Sydney, as well as athletic defender Sam Frost from Melbourne.