Young Wodonga Raiders defender Mitch Thomas is hoping for the best but bracing himself for the worst after injuring his knee on the weekend.
The former Rand-Walbundrie-Walla player joined North Albury in 2019 and had the misfortune of rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament when making his senior debut for the Hoppers.
Thomas spent last year's COVID-19 ruined season recovering before opting to follow former Hopper coach Isaac Muller to Birallee Park this season.
The 20-year-old has proven to be a handy pick-up for the Raiders as a tall defender and has established himself as a regular in the seniors, playing all eight matches.
Thomas said he injured his knee on the weekend against his former side after landing awkwardly in a contest.
"As I landed after a contest I stepped on my opponent's leg and my knee buckled," Thomas said.
"It's my left knee and the same knee as I did previously.
"I knew as soon as I landed that something wasn't quite right.
"The trainers suspect it is either another torn anterior cruciate ligament or a meniscus tear.
"I'm getting an MRI on Thursday and will know more then."
Thomas admitted it would be a bitter pill to swallow if he was forced to undergo a second knee reconstruction.
"I'll be gutted if I have done the ACL again," he said.
"At least I'm covered though and have got the necessary insurance if it is the worst case scenario.
"Being a shearer, I will have to take a bit of time off work.
"But that's footy I guess and you have to take the highs and the lows as they come."
The Raiders have been one of the surprise packets of the season to sit fourth with a 5-3 record.
They face flag fancy Wangaratta on Saturday.
"I was fairly happy with my form and play a role in a few of our wins," he said.
"There is a bit of belief in the group and what we can achieve this season.
"Not many people expected us to be sitting in the five at the half-way point of the season.
"Jarrod (Hodgkin) has shown a bit of faith in me and has been good for my development.
"Hopefully I can get some good news on my knee and play a role later in the season if I get the chance, you never know."
Before joining North Albury, Thomas made his senior debut with Rand-Walbundrie-Walla in 2017.
The athletic tall enjoyed a breakout season in 2018 after finishing runner-up in the Giants' best and fairest behind Chris Duck.