RICHMOND has been dealt a huge blow with superstar Dustin Martin out for the "medium term" after a setback in his recovery from a hamstring strain.
Martin, 31, was nearing a return from the injury he suffered in the win over West Coast on July 3, although had been ruled out of Friday night's meeting with Fremantle.
However, the 2017 Brownlow medallist is set for an even longer spell on the sidelines after a setback was confirmed by the club on Friday.
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"Dustin Martin has had a setback in his recovery from a hamstring strain," the Tigers said in a statement.
"An aggravation to his hamstring will mean Martin remains sidelined for the medium term."
Martin was initially expected to miss two matches after the injury in the 35-point win over the Eagles in round 16.
But the Tigers confirmed earlier this week they would be without Martin and Tom Lynch for the important clash with Freo at Marvel Stadium.
Richmond is clinging onto eighth spot on the ladder after costly losses to Gold Coast and North Melbourne in Martin's absence.
The latest setback is another blow to its finals chances, with big matches against Brisbane and Port Adelaide to come after it faces the Dockers.
The Tigers finish the home and away season with encounters against Hawthorn and Essendon.