HAWTHORN star and Brownlow Medal favourite Tom Mitchell will require surgery after rupturing his AC joint in last Friday night's semi-final loss to Melbourne.
Mitchell suffered the injury late in the opening quarter after Dees defender Neville Jetta applied a bruising bump which left the Hawk grounded and in pain.
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The recently crowned AFLPA MVP winner immediately came from the ground clutching his right shoulder before receiving 'local' treatment to reduce the pain.
But showing courage, Mitchell returned to the field and was the Hawks' best player in the loss, amassing 24 possessions, eight clearances and 10 tackles.
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The Dees won through to their first preliminary final since 2000 with the 33-point victory over the Hawks, but even if Mitchell's side had secured the win, he would have been unable to play.
Mitchell has delayed surgery to next Wednesday as he prepares for Monday night's Brownlow Medal – where he is a raging favourite to take home 'Charlie' for the first time in his career.
Following surgery he will be out of action for 6-12 weeks.
"I don't think I would've been able to play (in a preliminary final)," Mitchell revealed on The Footy Show.
"Post Monday, I think maybe on the Wednesday, might try to have my shoulder looked at and fixed up.
"(My shoulder) should be stronger and better for next year.
"Going out in straight sets and finishing our season at Hawthorn was pretty disappointing.
"Heading into the Brownlow, I'm not really sure … I don't really have any expectations, I'm just looking forward to a good night."
Mitchell earned 848 disposals this season – the most ever recorded in a premiership season. Amassing 40 or more disposals on 11 occasions this season, Mitchell also ranked No.1 in the competition for both disposals and clearances.