Luckless Melbourne forward Jake Melksham will miss another opportunity to win an AFL flag after scans confirmed he has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
But it was good news for Carlton, with wingman Blake Acres a chance to play in week one of the finals after being cleared of a fractured collarbone.
The Demons were dealt a double dose of "devastating" news on Monday when it was confirmed Melksham and Luke Dunstan had suffered ACL tears.
Melksham, who has kicked 16 goals since being recalled in round 16, ruptured his ACL while trying to change direction during the third quarter of Melbourne's 21-point win over Sydney on Sunday.
The timing of the blow is particularly cruel for Melksham, who missed out on the Demons' 2021 flag.
Melksham turns 32 on Tuesday, and it remains to be seen if he'll earn a new deal at Melbourne on the back of the long-term knee injury.
Dunstan, who hasn't featured for the Demons at senior level this season, suffered his ACL tear while playing in the VFL over the weekend.
Melbourne finished fourth on the ladder and will face minor premiers Collingwood in a qualifying final on Thursday, September 7 at the MCG.
"Unfortunately, scans confirmed the worst for Jake and Luke this afternoon," Melbourne's general manager of AFL Performance Alan Richardson said in a statement.
"It is incredibly disappointing news for both players, particularly on the eve of an AFL and VFL Finals Series. It really is a cruel part of our game.
"Jake and Luke have played very important roles for us in recent weeks and have done so with class and character.
"It is devastating to lose them at this point, but I have no doubt they will apply the same attitude and commitment to their respective rehabs."
Acres injured himself in Carlton's 32-point loss to GWS on Sunday.
Scans have shown no fracture to his collarbone, but he will still need to pass a fitness test in order to play in the elimination final against Sydney on September 8.
The Blues expect skipper Patrick Cripps (soreness) and Sam Docherty (calf) to be fit to face Sydney.