NORTH Melbourne's horror injury run has continued, with Tarryn Thomas – the club's brightest talent – to undergo season-ending surgery on his injured ankle.
This had looked the most likely course of action since early last week but the Roos made the call after visiting a second specialist in Brisbane on Wednesday.
The news comes as important key forward Nick Larkey is primed to make his senior return if he can negotiate training, after playing two scratch games since recovering from a long-term foot injury.
However, midfield star Jy Simpkin (ankle) is set to miss despite finishing the club's loss to Richmond on Saturday night.
North has lost more games to injury than any AFL club this year and will also be without captain Jack Ziebell for the next month because of a hamstring recurrence, although Kyron Hayden is recovering well from his concussion.
Thomas played the first six games of the year but came from the ground against Essendon a fortnight ago after his left leg was pinned underneath an opponent in a tackle.
THE LADDER Where is your team sitting?
He subsequently received treatment for a syndesmosis injury, an ailment that has befallen an increasing number of AFL footballers this season.
The 20-year-old, like Simpkin at the weekend, returned and played out the match, because no further damage could be done but he sat out the Tigers match.
"The specialists advised intervention was necessary on this occasion," North Melbourne football boss Brady Rawlings said of Thomas.
"It's very unfortunate for Tarryn and for the team but we always make decisions based on professional opinion, and with the long-term health and well-being of our players front of mind."
Thomas has made 26 senior appearances since being the No.8 pick in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft, and received a Rising Star nomination last year.