COLLINGWOOD'S No.6 draft pick Matthew Scharenberg will undergo surgery this week on the foot problems that have held him back in his first pre-season.
Scharenberg, who has been doing non-weight bearing training since joining the club in November, will have the sesamoid bone in both his feet removed.
Already set to miss the start of the season as he works through the injury, the operations will push back his expected return to football by four to six weeks.
He is still expected to push for senior selection in the second half of the season.
"He is a very talented player but he is young and we were always taking a long term approach with him. There was a small amount of lingering pain and with the operation he will have some certainty of an outcome," football director Rodney Eade said in a Collingwood statement.
"There is no real time frame on his return but all going well he should be running and seriously preparing to play in late May."
It is believed fellow Magpie Josh Thomas had similar surgery and has since responded well.
The 18-year-old missed the end of his season with SANFL club Glenelg and sat out last year's NAB AFL Draft Combine after struggling to overcome sesamoiditis.
While some clubs had concerns over the injury in the lead-up to the draft, the Pies took a long-term view and selected the athletic utility with their first selection.
List manager Derek Hine said after the draft the club had done "extensive research" on the injury and was confident the 191cm prospect would not be hindered by the problem.
The South Australian was a back-to-back All Australian at under-18 level and starred at last year's national championships.
He recently told AFL.com.au of his tightly managed first few months
with the club.
"I've been on a modified program, just doing rehab mainly and trying to get the feet right," Scharenberg said in January.
"It's still been pretty solid and lots of hard work, but it's been good."
Scharenberg was one of two first-round selections at last year's draft for the Pies, alongside explosive midfielder Nathan Freeman at pick No.10.Twitter: @AFL_CalTwomey