Luckless St Kilda defender Hunter Clark has suffered another serious facial injury after a sickening collision with teammate Dan Butler, while teammate Dougal Howard will be sidelined with a medial meniscal tear.
Clark broke his nose on Friday night, taking some of the gloss off a vital win for St Kilda against Carlton.
The 23-year-old was stretchered off with just seven minutes remaining, with the Saints grinding out a 14.9 (93) to 10.18 (78) victory at Marvel Stadium.
The Saints confirmed Clark spent Friday night in hospital then had surgery on his nasal fracture on Saturday morning.
The former No.7 draft pick has endured a wretched run with injury and the latest setback could sideline him for another significant period.
The Saints said Clark would "be assessed in coming days" before the club determined a return to play program.
It was just Clark's third game back after suffering a shoulder injury during the pre-season series.
He suffered a broken jaw in June 2021 after being on the end of a bump from retired Adelaide midfielder David Mackay, sidelining him for six weeks.
Clark managed to participate in the team song but Saints coach Brett Ratten expects him to miss a number of weeks.
"Hunter's got a broken nose, sort of a compound fracture come through, it's pretty ugly," Ratten said.
"He's had a bad run.
"He's put his head in some wrong spots and been cleaned up and it doesn't usually happen in the game.
"He's brave, tough, he's done everything and he's probably a player who was down a little bit (against Carlton) but found a way.
"He'll have to get some X-rays and see what's next for him and if there's a remodel of the nose, because it's not in great shape."
Butler was assessed for concussion following the incident but escaped any serious injury and could play against Fremantle next Saturday night.
Howard will join Clark on the sidelines, likely for several weeks after being subbed out in the third quarter with a knee injury.
Football boss David Rath said scans on Saturday confirmed a medial meniscus tear.
The Saints don't have a timeline on the key defender's return but Howard will consult a specialist on Monday.
It was a memorable victory for the Saints, after entering the match following three-straight defeats to drop outside of the top eight.
But the victory over another finals contender gives St Kilda a boost in their chances of featuring in the postseason for just the second time since 2011.
Australian Associated Press
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