Coach devastated for injured Howe
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley fears defender Jeremy Howe will be out long-term, after he suffered a serious injury in a gruesome collision in the two-point loss to Greater Western Sydney.
The 29-year-old's right knee bent in at an ugly angle as he and GWS midfielder Jacob Hopper made contact.
Howe had been in All-Australian contending form in recent weeks and was the leading possession-getter on the ground before he was forced off in the final quarter at Giants Stadium.
Howie's pretty devastated at the moment.Nathan Buckley.
The backman immediately clutched at his knee and was taken off the ground by trainers in agony. Buckley said the early diagnosis was that Howe had injured both his medial and posterior cruciate ligaments.
"His knee hasn't come out of it that well. We won't see him for a while, I don't think," added the coach, who saw his team suffer their first defeat of the season.
"He's been great, he's a great leader, great player; I'm devastated for him. He puts a lot into his footy, he invests all of himself into it.
"You are going to lose people as you go along through a season from different times and we will have to cover, and we will.
"It happens in footy, happens in life - things don't go your way and Howie's pretty devastated at the moment.
"Howie loves his footy; he wears his heart on his sleeve and he invests everything of himself. We're pretty flat at the moment."
Howe was Melbourne's leading goalkicker in 2013, during his five-year spell with the Demons. He moved to the Magpies at the end of 2015 and last year was the eighth time in a row he managed 20 or more games.
Collingwood are 11/2 to win the Grand Final. The Magpies are 2/11 to finish in the top eight.