TRIPLE All-Australian ruckman Max Gawn will miss up to five weeks of pre-season training after suffering a knee injury on Friday.
Gawn was assisted from the track at the club's Maroochydore training camp clutching his left knee before sitting out the remainder of the training session.
The 28-year-old was sent for immediate scans which later confirmed a moderate strain in his medial ligament.
His latest knee setback, which will keep him away from main training for at least three weeks, is a blow for Gawn who was eyeing a place in the Victorian line-up for State of Origin Bushfire Relief match on February 28.
"Max got a knock to the knee during a match simulation drill earlier today, and scans have since revealed a Grade 2 medial ligament strain," Demons head of football Josh Mahoney told the club's website.
"Whilst exact timelines are yet to determined, at this stage, we anticipate he will be available for the start of the season."
Melbourne's two Marsh Community Series matches are against Adelaide on February 22 and Hawthorn on March 6.
Gawn has previously torn his right ACL twice – the second coming in December 2011 just four games into his AFL career.
He was a shining light in a disastrous 2019 campaign for the Demons, claiming his second Keith Truscott Medal for the club's best and fairest alongside Clayton Oliver.
Gawn is seen by many at the Demons as a captaincy option this season alongside 2019 co-skipper Jack Viney after Nathan Jones relinquished his reins in September.
The injury comes after midfielder Angus Brayshaw injured his elbow at training last week, a setback that will keep him in an elbow brace in the short-term and keep him away from the main group for a month.
Key defender Steven May is slowly working his way back to full sessions after a knee clean-up in January.
The Demons have two positions available to be used in the Pre-Season Supplemental Period (SSP) up until March 13.
One position was left open for Harley Bennell, with the other opening after youngster Aaron Nietschke ruptured his ACL for the second time.
Bennell suffered a further calf complaint at training last week but has joined his prospective teammates at the training camp in the hope of winning a list spot.