MELBOURNE co-captain Jack Viney will miss at least a month of football as he looks to recover from a foot injury that has worryingly flared for the second time this season.
Viney was a late withdrawal from Saturday's clash against the Western Bulldogs after experiencing soreness in his toe prior to the game.
Scans have since revealed some bone stress on the bone near his toe, with the Demons to be careful with his return to the field.
"I'll miss at least four weeks at this stage. It's the same bone in my foot that has shown early signs of stress," Viney told reporters on Monday.
"It has been a bit sore over the past couple of weeks, so we got those scans on it, and it revealed that stress. It's part of footy. I'm staying really optimistic."
Viney said it was the same bone in his foot that he hurt late last year when he developed a stress fracture in his right foot at the back end of last season and which worsened this pre-season.
The 24-year-old said this injury was far less severe than the one that kept him sidelined for the first two months of this season.
"I've been here before, but we're at a much earlier stage, which is good. I had a full stress fracture in the pre-season and this is just a hot spot, and this is the early signs of bone stress," Viney said.
Viney will be taken off his feet for a few weeks as part of his recovery and then eased back into training once the discomfort starts to subside.
The young leader said this latest setback was not ideal, but he would work through it and hopefully return before the Demons' charge toward September.
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"I'm not down in the dumps. I understand this is part of the sport and hopefully I'm only missing four weeks and there is plenty of football to be played – and to finish off the season, and potentially finals as well," he said.
"There is the chance that we can play (finals), and I'll certainly be using that as a bit of motivation. If the opportunity was to arise, then hopefully I'm fit by then.
"I've got a bit of work to do before that happens, but fingers crossed that I’ll be able to get back and finish off the rest of the season."