Collingwood forward Daniel McStay has suffered another dose of heartbreak after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
McStay, who missed Collingwood's grand-final triumph over Brisbane after injuring the MCL in his right knee during the preliminary final, suffered the latest injury during training on Friday.
Scans later that day confirmed the worst-case scenario - a ruptured ACL.
The 28-year-old former Lion had only returned to training this week after recovering from his MCL injury.
The latest setback is set to rule him out for the entire 2024 campaign.
"This is unfortunate news for Dan who is likely to miss the 2024 season," Collingwood football manager Graham Wright said in a statement.
"We are all extremely disappointed for Dan and our entire club will rally around him during this difficult time and throughout his rehab journey."
Collingwood are set to place McStay on their long-term injury list in a move that will open up a second available list spot.
The Magpies have five players training with them ahead of the Supplemental Selection Period - Collingwood VFL pair Campbell Hustwaite and Josh Eyre, former Port Adelaide ruckman Brynn Teakle, ex-St Kilda midfielder Jack Bytel, and Victorian amateur star Sam Sofronidis.
McStay was the heartbreak story leading into the 2023 grand final after injuring his right knee in the preliminary final win over GWS.
His two goals in the preliminary final proved crucial as Collingwood secured a one-point win.
McStay booted 20.7 across 14 games in 2023 after joining Collingwood via free agency on a five-year deal reportedly worth $3 million.
But given the knee injury needed a rehabilitation period of about eight weeks, he was no chance of featuring in the grand final.
Collingwood went on to beat McStay's former side Brisbane by four points in one of the all-time great grand finals.
McStay's latest injury continues a wretched run of luck for the forward.
The 175-game veteran required surgery following the round-five win over St Kilda after rupturing a finger flexor tendon.
He then jarred the finger at training before the King's Birthday game against Melbourne in round 13, with a subsequent infection keeping him out until round 18.
McStay became a remarkably consistent force in attack upon his return, with his next nine games netting him 17 goals.
He kicked two goals in eight of those matches.
McStay's preliminary final injury opened the door for fringe forward Billy Frampton to play in the grand final.
Although Frampton only kicked 0.1 from two disposals, his role in shutting out star Lions defender Harris Andrews for the first three quarters proved crucial.
Australian Associated Press