GEELONG veteran Shaun Higgins has undergone knee surgery in a bid to return ahead of September in what is almost certain to be his final season in the AFL.

The 34-year-old has played only five games in 2022 – just once since round seven – due to lingering soreness issues that have resulted in an arthroscope on his knee. 

But after going under the knife for a minor procedure, Higgins is hoping to return to action within a few weeks and press his claims for a spot in Chris Scott's side for the finals. 

BROWNLOW PREDICTOR Who's leading the race?

AFL.com.au understands that there isn't a fear this injury will end Higgins' decorated career – despite only six games remaining in the home and away season – with the club taking a proactive step to get his body right. 

There is still a belief inside GMHBA Stadium that the former Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne midfielder can play senior football again.

Shaun Higgins in action for Geelong in round three against Collingwood at the MCG on April 2, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Higgins underwent a similar procedure late in the 2018 season when he was one of the favourites for the Brownlow Medal and only missed one game. 

After playing 129 games at the Whitten Oval and 108 at Arden Street, Higgins has added 23 games in the hoops since he arrived at the club at the end of 2020 on a two-year deal.

Despite being squeezed out of Geelong's best side at times across 2021 and being let down by his body in the twilight of his career, Higgins has impressed everyone at Geelong with his professionalism, ability to help develop younger players and input in meetings. 

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Milestone man snaps against old side

Shaun Higgins snares a terrific goal in his 250th game against his former team

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When the Cats travelled to Perth to face West Coast in round 14, Higgins travelled as an emergency and sat in the coaches' box at Optus Stadium in a sign of things to come once he hangs up his boots. 

The Cats are set to be boosted by the availability of Jake Kolodjashnij and Brandan Parfitt for this Saturday night's clash against Carlton at the MCG, while Sam Simpson has been given the green light to return to action for the first time this season after a pre-season incident left him with concussion symptoms. 

LADDER PREDICTOR Where will your club finish?

Geelong leapt to the top of the ladder at the end of round 17 after defeating Melbourne in convincing fashion last Thursday night to move to 12-4, ahead of the Demons and Fremantle on percentage.  

The Cats have reached the penultimate weekend of the season in five of the past six years – including last year when they were smashed by Melbourne in Perth after a virus swept through the playing group – and are well placed to make a deep run this September.