Sam Weideman during a training drill on the Sunshine Coast in July, 2020. Picture: Getty Images

MELBOURNE'S forwardline has suffered another huge blow with Sam Weideman set to miss the early part of the season with a stress fracture in his right leg.

The 23-year-old joins fellow key forward and boom recruit Ben Brown in the rehab group. As reported first on, Brown underwent surgery last week 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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Weideman, according to Melbourne's website, had just completed an uninterrupted block of training, but was now expected to be sidelined for the next 10-12 weeks.

"It's disappointing news for Sam who has had a great pre-season to date," Melbourne's football performance manager Alan Richardson said.

"Following some soreness in his hip region, the medical team decided to conduct a scan, which has shown a stress fracture in his femur.

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"We didn't expect to find anything this substantial, but it's better to get onto it now and prevent it from getting any worse.

"We will take a conservative approach and an exact return to play date will be determined by how Sam responds to the ongoing rehab program."

The injuries are likely to mean Melbourne will turn to Tom McDonald to hold down a key forward spot for the early games of the season.

McDonald, however, is coming off a very disappointing 2020, where he managed just nine games, was dropped, and booted just seven goals (a long way off his 2018 output of 53 goals).

Weideman, a former top-10 draft pick, has kicked 46 goals in 44 games since making his debut in 2016.

The Demons are desperate to return to finals action this year after missing out for two straight seasons on the back of a preliminary final appearance in 2018.

They are scheduled to begin the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season against Fremantle at the MCG on March 20.