NORTH Melbourne’s dual Syd Barker medallist Shaun Higgins will miss as many as six weeks recovering from the AC joint injury he sustained in the Roos’ win over Gold Coast.
The 2018 All Australian midfielder will undergo surgery on Tuesday.
Higgins has had a wretched injury run throughout his career, particularly from his time at the Western Bulldogs, but he’s played 52 of 56 games since the start of 2017.
The 31-year-old’s right shoulder crashed hard into the Metricon Stadium surface as Sun Touk Miller caught him in a tackle in the opening minutes of Saturday night’s match.
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Higgins left the field cradling his injured shoulder and was unable to return, with caretaker coach Rhyce Shaw foreshadowing bad news post-match when he said it “doesn’t look good”.
“The way he fell was unfortunate, because he landed on the arm of his opponent, which exacerbated the injury somewhat,” North football boss Cameron Joyce said on Tuesday.
“He’ll have surgery this afternoon and will be targeting a Round 17 or 18 comeback at this stage.”
Higgins averaged a career-high 31.2 disposals in the first 11 rounds, to go with 7.4 score involvements, 4.9 inside 50s, 4.5 clearances and almost 450 metres gained.
“Higgins’ absence will hurt us, but it also provides an opportunity for one of our younger mids to step up,” Joyce said.
“We have the likes of Paul Ahern playing great football in the VFL, as well as Bailey Scott, Kyron Hayden, Taylor Garner and Curtis Taylor.”
Another North star, vice-captain Robbie Tarrant, also underwent surgery on his right shoulder after damaging his AC joint in the Kangas’ intraclub match in mid-February.
Tarrant managed to recover in time to play in round one, just over five weeks after suffering the injury.