HAWTHORN will be without captain Ben McEvoy until the second half of the season after the ruckman suffered a small fracture in his neck.
McEvoy injured his neck during a contest at training on Thursday but will not require surgery.
The 32-year-old is expected to make a full recovery with no ongoing complications.
"Once healed, this will have no impact on Ben's ability to play football moving forward," Hawthorn club doctor Liam West said.
"At this stage we expect him to return to the team in the back half of the season.
"We'll continue to assess Ben throughout his recovery following further specialist advice."
McEvoy said while the setback was frustrating, he is pleased to be expected to make a full recovery.
"I was pretty sore straight after, then yesterday afternoon went to get some scans," McEvoy said.
"It has been confirmed that I’ve got a small fracture in one of the lateral bones in my neck, but it’s all stable and safe.
"I’m going to have some time out of the game while that heals, but I’m really pleased that I’m going to make a full recovery with no ongoing complications."
Jaeger O’Meara will act as captain for this weekend's game against Carlton at the MCG on Sunday.
Will Day returns to the side in place of McEvoy with Ned Reeves set to do the bulk of the ruck work.