SECOND-year Melbourne ruckman Luke Jackson has had surgery on a broken finger and will miss this weekend's clash with Carlton, opening the door for in-form key forward Sam Weideman to return to the senior side.
Jackson broke his finger in the Demons' win over Sydney in round eight and underwent surgery earlier this week. He is expected to miss two games at the most.
The 19-year-old has been playing as a key forward and back-up ruck this season - a role that Weideman played in several games in the second half of 2020.
Weideman, 23, is out of contract at the end of this season and has been in fine form in the VFL, booting 14 goals in three games at state-league level after recovering from a pre-season hip stress fracture.
Melbourne's general manager of AFL performance, Alan Richardson, said Jackson was expected to make a speedy recovery.
"It’s an unfortunate hiccup in Luke’s 2021 season, which to date seen him producing some solid and consistent football for us," Richardson said.
"However, the positive news is that the required surgery was minor and as a result, we expect he will only miss 1-2 games of footy.
"Luke has been a really important contributor for us this year and we look forward to having him back on the field soon."
Jackson has played 14 games for the Demons since being drafted at No.3 in the 2019 NAB AFL Draft, and he is a two-time NAB AFL Rising Star nominee.