Fremantle star Nat Fyfe will miss the start of the AFL club's pre-season training block after undergoing further surgery to repair his injured right shoulder.
Fyfe underwent season-ending reconstructive surgery in late July and had recently "plateaued" in his recovery, according to Dockers football manager Peter Bell.
The setback prompted a scan which revealed further damage to the dual Brownlow Medal winner's shoulder.
Fyfe had surgery again on Tuesday and will not return to training on December 6 when his fellow senior players resume.
The Dockers have not yet put a time frame on the 30-year-old midfielder's recovery.
"(The latest scan) indicated that there was a small crack in the bone block that forms the basis of these types of surgery," Bell said.
"We all know how diligent Nat is and he was complying with his program very well, however, these bone block fractures are known complications of this type of surgery.
"As a result, Nat has undergone a revision of the surgery. Whilst it is disappointing, we know that he will be incredibly diligent in his recovery and a return-to-training date will be advised in due course."
Fyfe is crucial to Fremantle's plans of returning to finals next season after a six-year absence.
The Dockers finished 11th last season, one win and percentage outside the top-eight.