Essendon’s injury-interrupted pre-season has continued, with ruckman Tom Bellchambers undergoing knee surgery last week.
According to AFL Media, the procedure is set to keep the 30-year-old on the sidelines for the next fortnight.
Despite the club’s opening Marsh Community Series match being just over two weeks again, the club remains adamant Bellchambers’ 2020 preparations won’t be severely impacted due to the setback.
The injury could open the door for former Carlton ruckman Andrew Phillips to stake his claim for a spot in the team during the side's upcoming pre-season matches.
With emerging ruckman Sam Draper still recovering from an ACL injury and Bellchambers only playing 16 games in 2019 due to a calf complaint, the Bombers opted to recruit Phillips to boost their ruck stocks ahead of the 2020 season.
But Bellchambers’ latest setback could open up a spot for Phillips with round one rapidly approaching.
Essendon has endured a torrid off-season with injury, with the likes of Joe Daniher (groin), Cale Hooker (hip), Orazio Fantasia (hip), Michael Hurley (shoulder) and Dyson Heppell (foot) still working their way back from post-season surgery.