HAWTHORN ruckman Max Bailey could be forced into early retirement by his troublesome knees, his manager says.
Bailey's manager Shane Casley told AFL.com.au on Wednesday his client would consult with doctors before making a decision on his football future soon.
Casley said Bailey wanted to play on next year, but would be guided by medical advice on the state of his knees.
"It's no secret Max has been struggling with his knees this year. Most weeks it's been a battle to get on the park," Casley said.
"Max wants to play on but he'll be guided by the doctors."
Asked how likely Bailey was to retire, Casley said he wasn't sure.
"What percentage you'd put on it, I don't know," he said.
"I'm seeing him on Monday so we'll know more then."
Bailey, who turns 27 later this month, is an unrestricted free agent, but Casley is confident if he decides he can continue playing, the Hawks will support him.
"The Hawks have been fantastic from day one with Max," Casley said.
"They've been so supportive through his various injuries and whatever decision is made will probably come from Max."
Bailey has played just 43 games in an eight-season career blighted by injury, but managed a career-high 19 matches this season, including the Hawks' three finals and premiership triumph over Fremantle.
That Bailey has managed that many games is a credit to his perseverance and the Hawks' faith in the No. 18 pick in the 2005 national draft.
Three knee reconstructions (two on his right knee and one of his left) limited him to just six games in his first five seasons at Hawthorn. After coming back to play 16 games in 2011, a wrist injury on the eve of last season limited Bailey to just two games.