Essendon teenager Zach Reid has been struck down by glandular fever.
Reid, taken by the Bombers with pick 10 in last year’s draft raid, fell ill after making his debut in the rain-soaked loss to the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba in Round 5.
The 202cm defender gathered 10 disposals and had five tackles in the match, but complained of feeling sick the following week.
Reid was taken for tests that initially showed a negative result for glandular fever before a follow-up test showed he had contracted the virus.
But there is optimism the infection has been detected early and that Reid will be able to make a full recovery in the short term, much like GWS defender Harry Perryman.
The 19-year-old is said to already be on the path back to full health.
Blessed with three top-10 picks in last year’s draft, the Bombers took Nik Cox (pick 8) and Archie Perkins (pick 9) before swooping on Reid with pick 10.
Reid was drafted as a defender, but can also play forward while pinch-hitting in the ruck.
He has been compared to Dustin Fletcher and Harris Andrews.