ESSENDON midfielder David Zaharakis could miss next month's NAB Cup after straining a quad muscle at training on Monday.
Bombers' acting football manager Danny Corcoran told Fairfax Media Zaharakis had scans on Tuesday morning and was diagnosed with a grade-one strain.
"We got the MRI this morning and he is not too bad," he said.
Asked if Zaharakis would miss the NAB Cup, Corcoran said: "Potentially. He is pain free today and we just have to work our way through it and see how he pulls up.
"He has had a super pre-season, fortunately it's a different injury (to last season) which is always good to know.
"He will miss a couple of weeks, no doubt."
The Bombers will desperately hope this is not the start of another soft-tissue epidemic which cruelled their 2012 campaign. They had more than 20 injuries in this area, prompting a post-season review.
Zaharakis suffered a severe quad strain at training heading into the round 11 clash against the Swans last season, and did not return until round 21, when he admitted he may have returned too early.
The 2011 best-and-fairest had been in brilliant touch before the injury. He managed 13 matches for the season.
Essendon captain Jobe Watson has said the focus this pre-season had been more on endurance with some players shedding weight, rather than building muscle - an area which contributed to last year's injuries.
The Bombers open their NAB Cup campaign with round-robin matches against the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood on February 15.