MELBOURNE'S ruck stocks have taken another hit, with back-up big man Braydon Preuss to miss 8-10 weeks following knee surgery.
Less than two weeks after triple All-Australian Max Gawn strained a ligament in his left knee, Preuss was put under the knife to repair meniscus damage in his right knee on Tuesday afternoon.
With Gawn expected to be on limited minutes during the Marsh Community Series, it has opened the door for No.3 draft pick Luke Jackson to receive early game time.
Preuss' setback is set to sideline him for the first month of the season.
"Unfortunately during training yesterday, Braydon landed awkwardly on his right knee, with scans revealing that he has sustained a medial meniscus tear," Demons head of football Josh Mahoney told the club's website on Tuesday.
"Braydon underwent surgery to his right knee on Tuesday afternoon. We felt this was the best course of action to prevent any further issues moving forward."
Gawn is expected to be fit to play in round one on March 22, however Preuss' injury will delay any plans to the pair as two genuine rucks.
Jackson, who has spent time training as a forward this pre-season, stands at 199cm and was last year named an All-Australian in the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.
Category B rookie Austin Bradtke (204cm) is the other genuine ruck option on the Demons' list, however the 91kg former basketballer is seen as a long-term prospect.
FULL FIXTURE Every round, every game
The Demons' latest injury concern comes after defender Steven May underwent a procedure on his knee that will keep him out of running for at least the next week.
Midfielder Angus Brayshaw is closing in on a return to the main group after removing his elbow brace at training on Monday following a strained ligament.
Jake Melksham, Mitch Hannan, Charlie Spargo, Joel Smith also remain part of the rehab group.