After considering retirement, Fremantle midfielder Anthony Morabito could make a shock AFL return this year after opting to undergo the radical ligament augmentation and reconstruction system (LARS) surgery on his troublesome left knee.
Morabito tore the graft on the repaired ligament in his left knee during training last week and will have the LARS procedure in Sydney early next week.
The 21-year-old has already undergone two traditional knee reconstructions, but the LARS procedure - which effectively replaces the damaged ligament with a synthetic one - could have him back in action within three to four months.
Although LARS can shorten a player's recovery time by up to nine months, it is considered a risky option by many medical professionals.
Melbourne's David Rodan and Sydney's Nick Malceski opted to take the LARS gamble, but both had to have their synthetic ligament reconstructed after suffering ruptures.
Morabito, who hasn't played for the Dockers since his debut season in 2010, considered retiring from the game following last week's setback.
But the No.4 pick from the 2009 national draft has decided to roll the dice on LARS in a bid to save his career.
"It took a bit of time for Anthony to come to terms with exactly what happened," Fremantle football operations manager Chris Bond said on Wednesday.
"He feels it's his best chance to get back playing AFL football, and we support him 100 per cent."
Bond said it was too early to predict when Morabito would be able to resume playing.
"There's a shorter time frame with coming back (from LARS)," Bond said.
"But I think really you just need to get through the surgery and make sure everything's OK, see how he recovers from that and then we'll have a better idea moving forward."
Morabito was billed as a star in the making after booting 13 goals from 23 games as a hard-running wingman in his debut season of 2010.
But it remains to be seen how the 190cm midfielder recovers from his latest trauma - both physically and mentally.