FIRST-CHOICE Adelaide defender Kyle Hartigan has been sent for ankle surgery that will delay his preparations for 2020.
The 28-year-old underwent arthroscopic surgery on Wednesday that will delay his pre-season by at least two weeks.
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It is a blow for the Crows who are still managing interceptor Tom Doedee's return from his ACL last season and losing Alex Keath to the Western Bulldogs.
However, the Crows are still hopeful Hartigan will be fit to play in their Marsh Community Series starting February 22.
"Kyle was experiencing lateral ankle pain during specific changes in direction at training," Crows head of science and medicine services Steve Saunders said.
"The surgery involved the removal of old scar tissue and a joint wash-out.
"Kyle's running will be limited for the next two weeks. However, he has had a seamless off-season and pre-season to date, so he is well-placed to be available for selected trial games in preparation for round one."
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Hartigan played 19 matches for the Crows last season and was awarded the Phil Walsh best team man award.
The Crows travel to Casey Fields in Cranbourne to play Melbourne for their Marsh Series opener before hosting Gold Coast in Noarlunga on March 6.