MELBOURNE midfielder Christian Petracca is set for a stint on the sidelines after suffering four broken ribs and a lacerated spleen during yesterday's game against Collingwood at the MCG.

Petracca suffered the injury in a marking contest at the end of the first quarter. He returned to the field after an initial medical assessment deemed his pain was likely due to a rib injury.

After returning to play, Petracca’s pain increased at half-time and despite assessing relatively well, he was sent to hospital for further investigation as a precaution.

Scans taken at hospital revealed the extent of Petracca’s injury, with the midfielder sustaining broken ribs, a lacerated spleen and a small puncture within his lung. He underwent a procedure to stop the bleeding last night and remains in hospital for observation and recovery.

A return to play timeline will be established in the coming week as Petracca recovers, and further medical assessment is undertaken.

Melbourne’s General Manager of AFL Performance Alan Richardson said Petracca’s health was the club’s number one priority.

"Obviously, Christian’s health is the number one priority for us at the moment. The next few weeks will be crucial, and we'll be monitoring his progress closely to make sure he heals properly and fully. As his recovery progresses, we will look towards a return to play timeline,” Richardson said.

“He's obviously an extremely important player for the team, but his health and recovery are our top priorities right now."