ST KILDA has lost James Frawley for the first two months of the season after scans confirmed the experienced recruit has suffered significant hamstring tendon damage.
Jake Carlisle and mature-aged recruit Tom Highmore are in contention to replace Frawley for the round one clash against Greater Western Sydney on March 21.
"This is hugely disappointing for James," St Kilda chief operating officer Simon Lethlean said.
"He's been moving really well over the pre-season, building strength back into his legs after a few niggles late last year.
"Surgery isn't an option for his specific injury, so James will work closely with our medical, and strength and conditioning teams throughout his rehab.
HORROR LEG BREAK Defender out for season
"We know he'll still have a huge influence on our group off the field as he recovers, however, we look forward to getting him back on the park somewhere around the bye."
Frawley, a Hawthorn premiership player and former Melbourne defender, backflipped on retirement plans to join St Kilda as a delisted free agent late last year.
He was given the Saints' No.24 jumper, worn by his famous uncle, the late Danny Frawley, in his early years at the club.