COLLINGWOOD is bracing to be without gun defender Jeremy Howe for an extended period after a brutal knee collision in the final quarter of the Pies' loss on Friday night.
Howe and Greater Western Sydney midfielder Jacob Hopper charged at one another in pursuit of the Sherrin, with the Magpie's right knee crashing into the side of the Giant as they smashed together.
>>WATCH the brutal incident in the player above
Coach Nathan Buckley said doctors' early diagnosis was that Howe has suffered damage to his medial and posterior cruciate ligaments.
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The former Demon has played 20 or more matches in each of the past eight seasons but was on crutches in the rooms post-game.
"We won't see him for a while, I don't think," Buckley told reporters.
"He's shattered. These guys have been sitting on their heels for quite a while (with the COVID-19 season shutdown).
"We've all been taken away from doing the things we love in some shape or form, and 'Howey' loves his footy.
"He wears his heart on his sleeve and he invests everything of himself, so we all feel pretty flat at the moment."
Howe was amid another strong performance when the injury occurred, winning 23 disposals and six intercept possessions and generating almost 500m gained.
The 29-year-old's been arguably the competition's in-form defender through the first four rounds.
"He's been great. He's a great leader, a great player. I'm devastated for him," Buckley said.
"He puts a lot into his footy – he invests all of himself into it – so you are going to lose people as you go along, through a season, at different times, and we will have to cover – and we will – but right now … Howey's devastated."
The Giants hung on for a two-point victory despite suffering injuries of their own, losing prominent pair Phil Davis and Zac Williams to hamstring issues in the third term.
GWS coach Leon Cameron said more would be known on Saturday about the severity of Davis' setback but expected the club's former co-captain to be missing for "a couple of weeks".
"Phil's clearly had an incident – it's not a big one – but with most hammies, we'll wait and see until tomorrow," Cameron said.
"Hopefully, it's only a couple of weeks. I thought he was terrific up until he hurt his hammy. He really led the backline.
"Zac's just more tight at the moment, so we're fingers crossed he'll be OK (to play against Hawthorn) but we just didn't want to take a risk, even though we would have liked another man to rotate.
"We were bigger picture with him, so hopefully we can get him up ready for next week but we'll find out in the coming 48 hours."
Cameron was satisfied to see his side respond, especially in the injury circumstances, after a poor fortnight that resulted in defeats to North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs.
"They're one of the better teams in the competition and clearly we've been down for a couple of weeks and trying to find our feet since we resumed play," he said.
"It was just a really gutsy win, because we probably lost our way a little bit halfway through the third, when Phil and Zac Williams came off.
"We had about a three-goal lead, so they got on top in the midfield and clearly scored when they went down there but to find a way with a couple down in the last quarter was really pleasing."