LUCKLESS Carlton defender Nic Newman is set to miss the start of the season after another knee setback.
AFL.com.au understands Newman had reported soreness in the knee he injured last year with early signs revealing inflammation behind the kneecap.
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Newman was due to meet with specialists on Monday morning to establish the next course of action and to determine how much training he will miss.
The 28-year-old ruptured his patella tendon in round two last year and missed the remainder of the season. However, his latest complaint is centred on the area behind his kneecap
He received Carlton's best clubman award at last week's best and fairest count, such was his impact on the playing group during his rehabilitation in 2020.
The former Swan had been slated to resume his role at half-back this season after playing his first full match since last year in the Blues' intraclub a fortnight ago.
Newman crossed to the Blues ahead of 2019 and played 20 games in his debut season in navy blue after 31 games for Sydney across 2017-2018.
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Carlton is also expected to be without fellow defender Caleb Marchbank for a pivotal round one encounter with Richmond on March 18, while forward Mitch McGovern is another racing the clock to prove his fitness.
McGovern has a low-grade hamstring injury and is expected to miss both a pre-season practice match against Essendon on Thursday, as well as the club's AAMI Community Series clash with St Kilda next week.
Meanwhile, Marchbank has a calf strain that will rule him out of round one. It's another horror blow for the intercepting defender, after he missed the entirety of last season with neck and knee issues.
The Blues are expected to name a strong side against the Bombers in their behind-closed-doors fixture at Ikon Park, though forward duo Levi Casboult (jarred knee) and Eddie Betts (calf) will also miss.
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They'll join longer-term prospects Charlie Curnow (knee), Tom De Koning (back), Brodie Kemp (foot) and Sam Philp (hip) on the sidelines, but aren't deemed concerns ahead of round one.
New recruit Zac Williams, veteran midfielder Marc Murphy and gun youngster Sam Walsh were also on light duties at training on Monday, but are all expected to take part in the club's first hitout of the summer later this week.
Walsh ran laps bare-footed throughout the session, while Williams and Murphy were put on light duties.