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Don Bellchambers, Bulldog Grant injured

By AAP .
21 January 2014 05:14PM EST

ESSENDON ruckman Tom Bellchambers and Western Bulldogs forward Jarrad Grant will miss the start of the AFL season after suffering injuries in pre-season training.

The Western Bulldogs will be without Jarrad Grant for the start of the AFL season with the forward fracturing his foot.

Grant underwent surgery on his left foot on Monday, which will leave him in a moonboot for six weeks.

With the Bulldogs' opening round match just nine weeks away in Perth against West Coast, Grant will face a delayed start to the season on medical advice.

The Bulldogs' medical services manager Andrew McKenzie said scans showed the need to stabilise Grant's foot.

"Jarrad got landed on in a tackle on Friday, and subsequently sustained a fracture to his left foot," he said.

McKenzie said after an initial six-week layoff, he would be assessed for a potential season start date.

"He will have a review with the surgeon to determine when he will return to play after that time," he said.

Football manager Graham Lowe said he was confident Jarrad would bounce back.

"Jarrad is in relatively good spirits, and is now looking forward to diligently rehabilitating his injury," Lowe said.

Essendon ruckman Tom Bellchambers will miss the start of the AFL season after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle.

A meeting with a specialist convinced the club to send Bellchambers under the knife two months out from Essendon's first match of the season.

It's hoped that the operation will mend damaged ligaments in Bellchambers' ankle but Essendon have confirmed he will miss at least three months.

That would put him in danger of missing the club's opening six matches, including the Anzac Day match in round six.

Essendon coach Mark Thompson said Bellchambers was a resilient character but this was an unfortunate setback.

"To lose a player of Tom's ability for that amount of time is not ideal," Thompson said, "he'll have the full support of the fitness and medical team to help him get back out playing as soon as possible."

Despite the retirement of long-term Bombers ruckman David Hille at the end of the 2013 season, Thompson suggested he would not be light on for rucks in Bellchambers' absence.

"We have a number of quality players that can play in the ruck including Paddy Ryder and Joe Daniher, and we picked up Fraser Thurlow in the rookie draft over the summer."

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