Joe Daniher’s early-season struggles are over, with Essendon putting the star forward on ice for at least a month in the hope he can rid himself completely of a debilitating groin injury.
The Bombers made the tough call on Tuesday after scans showed the 24-year-old has early onset osteitis pubis.
The spearhead kicked 65 goals last year to make the All-n team for the first time and take out his first club best-and-fairest award.
But with Essendon languishing in 15th place with a 2-5 record, Daniher became a whipping boy in the media and with fans after kicking eight goals in seven games.
However, the club shed new light on his woes, revealing he has been dealing with the issue since the end of last season.
After a modified pre-season, he suffered setbacks in round two and last week in the loss to Hawthorn, prompting his break from full training and playing.
“In the second half against Hawthorn Joe felt heavy in his groins and that prompted us to follow up with a scan to see how his condition was progressing,” performance manager Justin Crow said.
“It showed some signal in his pubis indicating early onset of osteitis pubis.
“With Joe’s long-term health and career being our biggest priority, in conjunction with Joe, we’ve made the decision to take him out of the program and give him a full rehabilitation to make sure that gets better.
“That will be a minimum of four weeks (on the sidelines), but we’ll be taking as long as required to make sure that Joe is fully recovered and available to play at his best.”
Whether the Bombers are still a finals contender when Daniher returns remains to be seen.
John Worsfold’s team has ample talent but is mired in the bottom four after Saturday’s 23-point loss to the Hawks.
Essendon are the only side yet to win a third quarter this season and are down a whopping 136 points in that term.
The Bombers face a danger game on Saturday against arch rivals Carlton.
While the Blues are winless, they will fancy their chances of an upset.