A RECURRING toe injury will keep Richmond "barometer" Jake King on the sidelines for at least a fortnight.
The small forward has suffered a flare-up of an existing injury, which has previously been operated on.
King struggled with the toe complaint while playing for Richmond's VFL team on Saturday.
Asked on Channel Seven's Talking Footy if King would return to the seniors soon, Tigers coach Damien Hardwick replied: "Probably not in the short term, he's got a pretty significant toe injury at the moment.
"Look, I love Jake King as a player and what he brings to our footy club, and I probably pushed him a little bit to play before he was quite ready from a fitness point of view.
"I think he's a barometer of our footy club. Everything he does from a spirit, passion point of view is exactly how I want my players to play and look, he's come back sore.
"He tried to go on the weekend and it's pulled up sore again."
Hardwick denied King's injury is a stress fracture.
"No, it's just he's had this toe issue that he's had operated on about three times, so it's starting to become a bit chronic," he said.
"So we've just got to make sure we pull him back a little bit. Give him a bit of a mini pre-season, give him a spell first and then get him back on track.
"So he's probably about two to three weeks away."
King has played just the two AFL games this season, the most recent against the Western Bulldogs in round three when he suffered a quadricep injury.
Meanwhile, Hardwick says key forward Ty Vickery needs to improve his defensive work-rate and endurance in order to regain his spot in the team.
The 200cm forward kicked eight goals in the first three games, but was dropped to the VFL after collecting just two touches in Richmond's 38-point round four loss to Collingwood.
"Ty knows defensively we expect a little bit more of him ... because offensively the kid can play," Hardwick said.
"As the game's evolved now, you see all the forwards press up the ground and Ty – by his own admission – that's not a strength of his and that's where he needs to develop.
"He needs to get that bigger aerobic capacity to do that."
Vickery's desire has been questioned, but Hardwick said the 24-year-old is fiercely competitive.
"That's the perception I think from the off-field, on-field he's extremely competitive," Hardwick said.
"He's a competitive kid and he'll come back, he's a proud man and he'll do some good things for us."