MELBOURNE’S Lauren Pearce will face a delayed start to the 2020 AFLW season due to a knee injury.

The Demons’ ruck, who underwent an arthroscope on her knee at the end of the VFLW season, will require further surgery prior to the Christmas break.

“Lauren had scans earlier in the week, and they revealed some unstable cartilage in her knee,” AFLW Football Operations Manager Daniel McPherson told Melbourne Media.

“She will go in for minor surgery on Thursday afternoon to have it cleaned up, and will face some time in rehab as a result.”

Pearce, who had not yet joined the main training group following her first operation, will now be met with further delay, expected to be sidelined until late February.

“We will know more after Lauren’s had the procedure, but we’re looking at about an eight week recovery at this stage,” McPherson said.

“Although she will miss the first month of the competition, we’ll be looking to have her back in time to play an important role for us in the back half of the season.”

The setback comes after an impressive year for Pearce, where she finished runner-up in Melbourne’s best and fairest award, while also claiming the Lambert-Pearce Medal as the best VFLW player for 2019.

Pearce will return, alongside her teammates, to a modified program in the new year.