ESSENDON has been dealt a significant blow on the cusp of the season proper, with defender Martin Gleeson to be sidelined for 12 to 14 weeks.

ESSENDON defender Martin Gleeson is carried from the field after injuring his foot in a JLT Community Series clash against Geelong.

Gleeson injured his foot after landing awkwardly in a marking contest midway through the final term of the Bombers’ four-point victory over Geelong in Colac on Sunday.

General manager of football Dan Richardson said the Dons remained optimistic that Gleeson – who requires surgery on a broken foot and a dislocation – could return after the bye in round 13.

“Marty suffered a major fracture to the front of the talus and a minor dislocation to the subtalar joint in his foot,” said Richardson.

“While this is an uncommon injury, we are fortunate he is in the safe hands of our medical team and Mr. Andrew Oppy who will conduct the surgery this morning.”

“We expect Marty to be sidelined for 12 to 14 weeks, but through a successful rehabilitation program we believe he could be in a position to return after the bye.”

Gleeson has featured in the red and black 69 times since making his debut in round one of 2014.

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