Travis Colyer's AFL breakthrough has proved shortlived.
After playing every game last season for the first time in his career, the Essendon forward will have a delayed start to 2018 because of surgery.
Colyer had surgery on Wednesday to remove the sesamoid bone from his right foot.
The Bombers are unsure how long he will be out of action, but think it will be 12 weeks.
That would sideline him around until round seven of the regular season.
"Once Travis is reviewed by the surgeon, his recovery timeframe will become clearer, however typically we would expect him to be unavailable to play for a period of 12 weeks," Essendon high performance manager Justin Crow said.
Last year was the first time Colyer had played more than 12 games in a season.
He has played 79 matches since his 2010 debut.