COLLINGWOOD star Nick Daicos thought his injured knee was "smashed to smithereens" but remains hopeful he can play a role in his club's premiership push this season.
The Brownlow Medal and flag races have been blown wide open by news of a hairline fracture in Daicos' right knee, sustained during Saturday's shock defeat to Hawthorn.
The injury could sideline the 20-year-old playmaker for up to six weeks.
"I'm pretty disappointed, obviously," Daicos, who was on crutches, told reporters on Monday.
"I met with the surgeon (and) don't need surgery, which is a huge positive.
"I'm pretty focused now to start my recovery as soon as possible."
Daicos believes he went into the Hawthorn clash with bone bruising.
He had just five disposals against the Hawks, tagged out of the game by Finn Maginness.
"I felt something in my knee a little bit when I went on the ground and it was pretty sore and then in the third quarter on the impact of the Hawthorn player I straight away knew that something wasn't right," Daicos said.
"I was hoping it was just a corky but obviously it was something worse."
Daicos will miss the rest of the home and away season as he plots a path back to action, with the Magpies hopeful the young star will be available in the second or third week of the finals.
Key defender Nathan Murphy is also set to miss up to three weeks with an ankle injury.