ST Kilda’s bid to revive its season has been dealt a major blow, with key forward Josh Bruce ruled out for up to two months with bone stress in his lower back.
Bruce trained on Thursday, but pulled up sore and coach Alan Richardson told reporters on Saturday that the former Giant would be out of action for a lengthy period.
“Unfortunately for Brucey, his form hasn’t been great, but it looks like it’s going to be an extended period out now, with a stress of the back,” said Richardson.
“Something like about six-to-eight weeks, which is disappointing for him and disappointing for us, obviously.”
Bruce booted 124 goals across 2015-17, but a slow start to the season has seen him kick just four goals in three matches this year.
The 25-year-old is expected to avoid surgery and will be able to do conditioning work through his rehabilitation.
Bruce had been carrying soreness, but there had been no concerns about him playing through that – information Richardson made sure to obtain from his medical staff.
“You can imagine all those questions get asked, given his form over the last couple of weeks wasn’t great,” Richardson said.
“My understanding was he’d been a little bit stiff, but was really comfortable that he was physically right to go. It clearly went to another level on Thursday (at training).”