INJURY-plagued Saint Nathan Freeman’s quest to make an elusive AFL debut has hit another snag after the speedster suffered a shoulder injury in the VFL on Saturday.

In the first quarter of Sandringham’s clash with Richmond at Beaconsfield, Freeman was crunched by the Tigers ex-AFL hard man Steven Morris and had to be taken from the field. 

It wasn’t long before ice was applied to the injury, effectively ending Freeman's afternoon. 

The Saints later confirmed Freeman had sustained an AC joint injury, the extent of which would be revealed by scans in coming days.

Before the mishap, the pacy midfielder had been closing in on an AFL promotion, recovering from more hamstring surgery in February to rack up a total of 56 possessions in his first two games back at VFL level.

And given the Saints’ poor start to the season, there are bound to be opportunities aplenty in a team lacking the kind of energy and adventure Freeman prides himself on.

The luckless 22-year-old could be forgiven for wondering whether he is doomed to never play at the highest level. 

Selected by Collingwood with the No.10 pick in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft, he first experienced hamstring problems in a pre-season game at Geelong in February 2014 and thereafter has endured a cursed run. 

After two frustrating years with the Magpies, Freeman was granted his wish for a trade to St Kilda, but the change of scenery hasn't resulted in a change of fortune, with his chronic hamstring issues persisting.