North Melbourne captain Jack Ziebell has avoided a ruptured ACL but will take up to eight weeks to recover from a knee injury.
The star midfielder could still play in round two of the AFL season with the competition postponed until at least May 31 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But the injury against St Kilda on Sunday was still a blow for Ziebell after he battled persistent calf issues during the pre-season.
"I've never done one before, but I know a few blokes who have and I thought medial (injury) straight away," Ziebell said.
"I got a scan on Monday and revealed exactly what the doctors thought and that's a higher-grade medial strain and probably miss six-to-eight weeks.
"It's not ideal, but if there's a time to be injured, it's probably now."
Ziebell was one of three Kangaroos players alongside defender Josh Walker (concussion) and Paul Ahearn (hamstring) to be injured in the comeback two-point victory over the Saints at Marvel Stadium.
The 29-year-old said it would be an unique challenge trying to rehabilitate his knee during the AFL's shutdown period.
"The next month I'll probably be stuck in a brace and a couple of our physios will be in contact. You can do most of the (recovery) stuff through FaceTime," Ziebell said.
"On Monday a lot of the boys were loading up on exercise equipment.
"I was in there grabbing what I can for my knee rehab so I'll be able to most of my stuff from home."