CARLTON'S Dale Thomas still has no idea how long he'll be sidelined by his dislocated shoulder.

Thomas lasted less than a minute of the season opener, going down in a tackle by Richmond's first-gamer Kamdyn McIntosh.

While McIntosh went on to lay a strong claim to be best afield in the Tigers' 27-point win, Thomas ran carefully off the ground and straight down the race. 

He emerged with the red substitute's vest, and now faces an uncertain amount of time on the sidelines.

The worst-case scenario is a full season out after surgery and rehabilitation - though a good result could see him back in May after careful management. 

Whether Thomas is forced under the knife will be known after crucial scans. 

On Good Friday, Thomas told Fox Sports News the dislocation was a painful experience. 

"I've never had it done before, I looked down and it was halfway down my arm," he said. 

"Obviously not great to happen in the first minute of the game but it is what it is.

"Hopefully it's nothing too major and it's just slipped out and not done too much damage.

"Luckily enough the doctor got it straight back in, whether or not that's a good thing we'll wait and see."

Mick Malthouse looked a frustrated coach discussing the injury but said Thomas wasn't a special case.

"It came right out ... I suspect the medical (department) will give us an update at some stage in the next couple of days, given it's Easter," he said.

"I feel for any player that gets injured, they all put the same amount of time in. 

"It's disappointing. (Thomas is) a very good player and a very good mate."