Jesse Hogan will be missing until at least late June Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
Jesse Hogan will not be the answer to Melbourne's forward-line ailments, at least until the season is almost two-thirds over.
Hogan's back injury, sustained in a NAB Challenge game against Geelong, did not respond to initial treatment and the Demons have decided to give the 19-year-old further rest.
"Jesse unfortunately hasn't responded as well as we would've liked,'' coach Paul Roos said on Monday. ''We've had a couple of goes of just taking the foot off the pedal for a week or so and then getting him running again but that hasn't seemed to have worked so we'll probably take a more conservative approach now."
Hogan has now been ruled out until late June at the earliest.
"He probably won't run for two-to-three, which puts him out for another five or six after that,'' Roos said.
Melbourne has kicked just 45 goals in its six games and no Demon has booted more than five goals.
"We're not going to push [Hogan] now. We'll probably leave it for another week or so before he runs again, which obviously means it's going to be a lot longer than initially thought," Roos said.
Meanwhile, the coach defended under-fire utility Jack Watts. The former No. 1 draft pick has been disappointing, but Roos indicated that Watts would almost certainly hold his position in the team.
"I would think he would be playing this week. I'd be surprised if he wasn't," Roos said.
Watts was held to just 15 disposals against Sydney on Saturday night, but Roos was not especially concerned by the 23-year-old's showing.
"We don't have the same fixation on Jack Watts as everyone else does. He is just one of our players that we try to get better every single week.
"I get a little bit surprised that everything goes back to Jack Watts. We've got a lot more problems at this club than Wattsy's form."