Essendon skipper Brendon Goddard will undergo scans to determine if his AFL season is over after he injured his groin in Sunday's 66-point loss to Geelong.
Goddard pulled up sharply after he wrenched his groin going for a mark in the first quarter at Etihad Stadium and immediately signaled to the bench before slowly making his way off the field.
With three games left in the season the 31-year-old veteran will battle to feature again if it's anything more than a minor strain.
"He obviously couldn't finish the game so my guess is that he's strained something, which would put him in doubt for next week," coach John Worsfold said after the match.
"But groin strains can be of varying degrees, so I don't really know what it means at this stage."
Essendon went goalless in the first half for the second time this season, but battled on in the second half to ensure the Cats didn't get the huge percentage-boosting win they were after.
"It was a massive loss not having our most senior player out there for the majority of the game," Worsfold said.
"We're a team that really needs everyone out there but I was really proud of the way that they stepped up to cover that loss.
"I thought they stayed positive and backed themselves in. They weren't good enough but they threw everything at Geelong."
With vice-captain Mark Baguley already out injured, Worsfold will choose one of the club's remaining leadership group players - Joe Daniher, Zach Merrett or David Zaharakis - to skipper the side in Goddard's absence.