Dustin Martin is in "a lot" more pain than he had anticipated, according to Richmond coach Damien Hardwick, as the AFL superstar recovers in hospital from a lacerated kidney.
Martin's season is over and he will not be allowed to participate in contact training for at least three months after his collision with Brisbane hard-nut Mitch Robinson last week.
The 30-year-old three-time premiership hero remains under the close watch of doctors on the Gold Coast as the Tigers prepare for Sunday's crunch clash with Geelong at the MCG.
"Dustin's still in hospital at the moment. We're not too sure when he's going to come out at this stage ... hopefully over the weekend," Hardwick said on Friday.
"The doctors are still looking at him and making sure he fully recovers.
"He's sore. He's a very strong lad, Dustin, as you can imagine, but he's certainly a lot sorer than he thought he would be.
"It's a significant injury, which is why he won't play football for the remainder of the year, but he's in good spirits."
The incredibly durable Martin has played at least 20 matches in each of his 11 completed seasons for a career tally of 260 games.
Such a setback has the ability be mentally draining, but Hardwick said Martin was well-equipped to cope with an extended stint on the sidelines.
"He'd love to be around us, he'd love to be with us, but he's dealing with it as best he can," Hardwick said.
"The one thing that I will say about Dustin is mentally he handles these things very well.
"He does a lot of work in that space, so he's in as good a place as he can be at present."
All-Australian midfielder Shane Edwards is set to return from an ankle injury against Geelong, but Richmond still face a tough ask to fill the void left by Martin as they seek to keep their finals dream alive.
"Dustin's a very hard player to replace - one of the best players, if not the best player, in the league," Hardwick said.
"We've got some players that we think can fulfil that role in a different manner that we're really excited to give the opportunity to and see how that pans out.
"But if we're looking for one player to replace Dustin Martin, we're going to be found short in that regard."
Australian Associated Press