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Injury adds to Dons' woes

Bruce Reid inspects Jake Melksham's hand.

Bruce Reid inspects Jake Melksham's hand. Photo: Pat Scala

ESSENDON'S horror week worsened on Friday when young midfielder Jake Melksham broke his hand in the club's intra-club match.

Melksham had his right hand trodden on when on the ground trying to pick up a loose ball and writhed in pain as club doctor Bruce Reid and coach James Hird inspected his injury.

The Bombers sent the 21-year-old for assessment but Hird confirmed soon afterwards that the onballer had broken his hand, meaning a delayed start to the pre-season campaign.

Essendon train at Tullamarine oval.   Club doctor Bruce Reid  inspects Jake Melkshams injured hand. Click for more photos

Essendon trains at Tullamarine Oval

Essendon Football Club train at Tullamarine this morning. Jake Melksham injures his hand during the training session. Photo: Pat Scala

Hird said Melksham had surgery on Friday, but that the club expected him to return to training in some capacity on Monday.

The setback capped a disastrous week for Essendon, in which the club was engulfed in a supplements scandal and put under investigation by the AFL and Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, and its two most durable players from last year were sidelined by injury.

Melksham and captain Jobe Watson were the only Dons to play every game last season, but both have been ruled out of the opening night of the NAB Cup next Friday, when Essendon plays Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs. Watson strained a knee at training earlier in the week. David Zaharakis, the Bombers' 2011 best and fairest winner, will also miss the start of the pre-season campaign because of a quad strain.

Hird said Essendon was hopeful Melksham could return to play in Essendon's third NAB Cup game, against Richmond in Wangaratta on March 2. ''We look forward to him playing in the next two to three weeks,'' Hird said.

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