Carlton have copped a massive blow with star AFL defender Sam Docherty suffering a serious knee injury at pre-season training on Wednesday.
Docherty, who finished second behind skipper Marc Murphy in the club's best and fairest this season after topping the tally in 2016, ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.
The 24-year-old All-Australian will undergo traditional reconstructive surgery over the coming days before commencing his rehabilitation process.
He is set to miss all of the 2018 AFL season.
Head of football Andrew McKay said the club was shattered for Docherty.
"As we commence our pre-season campaign, the news of Sam's injury is incredibly disappointing for everyone but foremost for Sam," McKay said in a statement.
"Sam is a total professional and a resilient young man and we know he will face his rehabilitation process with the utmost dedication."