Collingwood veteran Dane Swan faces months on the sidelines after scans confirmed he will need surgery to repair fractures in his right foot.
The 32-year-old suffered the injury in the first quarter of the Pies' 80-point loss to Sydney in a collision with young Swan Zak Jones.
Coach Nathan Buckley broke the bad news on Monday night.
"Swanny's had scans and he's got three broken bones in his foot and he's got the Lisfranc injury, which is not a great one," Buckley told Fox Footy.
"He will get the recommendations from surgeons over the next couple of days.
"We'll wait for the swelling to go down, he'll need an operation and we'll know about a timeline on the back of that."
A Lisfranc injury or fracture is often difficult to properly diagnose and treat.
Other AFL players to be stricken by the issue include Mitch Clark, Daniel Wells and Rhys Stanley.
Buckley stressed that Swan had been remarkably durable over the course of his 258-game career, but admitted he was unsure if he would play any part in the Pies' 2016 campaign.
"It'll be late (in the season) if he was to come back," he said.
"So we're about his welfare and looking after him in the short term, making sure he gets the best medical care and gives himself the best chance to get himself right."
Swan expressed his hope that the injury wouldn't end his career when he spoke to reporters at Melbourne airport on his return from Sydney.
"If I need surgery, I'll come back and hopefully I get back," Swan said on Sunday.
"Whether that's six weeks or whether that's 20 weeks or somewhere in between, I hope that's not my last game."