AARON vandenBerg is set to miss at least round one with a fresh foot injury sustained in Melbourne's win over Hawthorn on Friday night.
The 28-year-old suffered a collision injury to the foot he's had long-term problems with in the first half of the pre-season clash in Launceston.
AFL.com.au understands it is a separate issue to the troubles vandenBerg has previously overcome.
While it's not expected to sideline him for a lengthy period, it's believed it will at least keep him from putting his hand up for the Demons' season-opener against West Coast on Sunday, March 22.
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vandenBerg has become one of the competition's unluckiest players with foot and ankle injuries ruining the past four years of his career.
This summer, it looked as though he had turned a corner and found a workable balance between training and backing off.
It was revealed earlier in the year vandenBerg had gone to the drastic level of training with his teammates just once a week and doing his other main session off-legs, in a bid to preserve his foot.
He also said he had given up golf and rehomed his golden retriever at his mum's place so the dog would still be walked.
The inside midfielder sat out the second half of the Marsh Community Series match in Tasmania with what the Dees hoped at the time was simply bruising.
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vandenBerg knocked back interest from Sydney and Greater Western Sydney in 2018 to re-sign with the Demons until 2021.
The club was contacted for an update on Wednesday.
In other injury news, the club confirmed earlier in the day that Harley Bennell has suffered another low-grade calf strain.
The former Sun and Docker wasn't expected to play until mid-season anyway, given the slow and cautious approach the Demons are taking with his injury-prone lower legs.
In better news, they expect to have Christian Salem available for round one despite a recent bout of glandular fever, while Sam Weideman should also be fine after rolling his ankle against the Hawks.