EXCITING Gold Coast forward Joel Jeffrey will miss the rest of the season after having surgery on the lateral meniscus in his right knee.
Jeffrey hobbled from the field late in Sunday's win over Adelaide, and although the Suns initially thought it was a minor knock, it turned out to be much worse.
Coach Stuart Dew said the extent of the injury was a surprise, but the club decided a cautious approach was best with the talented 20-year-old.
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"It's really unfortunate," Dew said on Thursday.
"Joel was adding something to our side and getting comfortable at the level.
"It's one we were really surprised by given it wasn't too sore (after the game) … but when he walked in on Monday hobbling my heart sank a bit because I was just disappointed for him because he's done a lot of work to get to where he is.
"You just want your young lads playing."
Jeffrey has played the past five games, making it nine total in his young career, including a brilliant five-goal performance against the Western Bulldogs in round 10 that earned him a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination.
Losing Jeffrey came on the heels of confirmation young defender Wil Powell would also miss the rest of 2022 after dislocating his ankle against the Crows.
Dew said despite the recent setbacks, his team was in a good spot to test Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Sunday, with lockdown defender Connor Budarick (hamstring) a chance to retain his spot in the team.
He said despite the congested ladder, the Suns weren't looking beyond this weekend.
"It's a great challenge," Dew said.
"I think we've got real belief, not false belief, and that's why we're looking forward to Sunday.
"A strength of ours this year has been keeping our eyes pretty low to the upcoming weekend, and we're going to continue with that theme.
"We're definitely not looking ahead.
"I've got good experience across the League over a number of years and I've been guilty of that as a player and it doesn't help you one bit.
"I certainly can educate the group on the impacts of that."