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Demons lose star for finals run

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Melbourne’s AFL finals campaign has been dealt a massive blow with key forward Jesse Hogan ruled out for the remainder of the season.

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Hogan was injured during Sunday’s loss to Sydney and scans have revealed he has suffered a partial stress fracture in the navicular bone in his foot.

The Demons sit seventh on the ladder and are no certainties to make the top eight with tough games against West Coast (away) and GWS to close out their season.

Hogan will not require surgery but the Demons will take no risks with an injury that is notoriously difficult to recover from.

Former Melbourne captain Jack Trengove’s career was ruined by a navicular injury – the same issue that sidelined Essendon great James Hird for the better part of three seasons and forced GWS ruckman Shane Mumford into an early retirement.

“It can develop into a serious injury and we feel we’ve got it quite early,” Demons fitness boss Dave Misson told the club’s website on Tuesday.

“It’s not going to require surgery and we’re looking at a positive outcome for his preparation going into 2019.

“We think he’s going to be right to go for the start of pre-season but unfortunately for the rest of this season, that’ll be it for Jesse.”

In more bad news for the Demons, rebounding defender Jayden Hunt will miss up to a month with an ankle injury sustained in the loss to the Swans.

Bernie Vince will miss six weeks after injuring the AC joint in his shoulder while co-captain Jack Viney (toe) won’t play unless Melbourne make the finals.

Former Essendon duo Michael Hibberd (quad) and Jake Melksham (hamstring) will return to face the second-placed Eagles at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

Ruckman Max Gawn is expected to play despite being clearly hampered by a corked calf in the game against Sydney.

– AAP

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