MELBOURNE recruit Ben Brown has had his chances of playing round one dashed, after meetings with specialists determined that he needs knee surgery on the eve of the season.
As reported by AFL.com.au earlier this week, Brown met with renowned knee specialist Julian Feller on Wednesday due to consistent swelling on his left knee as a result of an injury sustained while playing for North Melbourne last August.
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The 200cm key forward will now be forced to undergo an arthroscope in the coming days as a result of the consultation, which the club hopes will finally address the cartilage damage in his left knee.
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It's likely to rule Brown out of his new side's round one clash with Fremantle on March 20, with the 28-year-old not expected to resume running activities at training for four weeks after the operation.
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"Given Ben's knee history we will be taking a conservative approach to his recovery," the club's football boss Alan Richardson said on Thursday.
"Ben's availability for selection will be determined on how well he responds to the rehab program. We are very confident though that we can build Ben back to full fitness and we will see him in action during the early rounds of the season.
"We anticipate Ben will be in a position to commence running four weeks following surgery.
"He is in very good shape and his training standards since joining the club have been outstanding.
"We recruited Ben as a long-term player for the club and are very confident that his best football is ahead of him."
Brown was one of the Trade Period's most high-profile acquisitions last November, having arrived at Melbourne from North Melbourne in a package that included picks No.26, 33 and a swap of future draft selections.
He signed a four-year contract with the Demons, bringing an end to a decorated 130-game career with the Kangaroos that featured three consecutive 60-goal seasons between 2017 and 2019.