STAR Golden Square recruit Corey Jones will undergo surgery on Tuesday to have a plate inserted into his fractured cheekbone.
The former North Melbourne forward suffered the injury when he clashed heads with a Shepparton United opponent in a practice match at MyJet Oval on Saturday.
The Bulldogs expect Jones to miss anywhere up to five weeks.
He certainly won't play for the reigning premier in the round one clash with Strathfieldsaye on April 6.
The Bulldogs then face South Bendigo on April 13, Kangaroo Flat on Good Friday and Gisborne at Gardiner Reserve on Anzac Day.
Square will take a young side into round one, with last year's premiership coach Rick Ladson also facing a delayed start to the season.
Ladson made a late start to pre-season training after having surgery on his troublesome hip.
The 2008 Hawthorn premiership player is expected to miss at least the first two rounds of the season.
Meanwhile, Strathfieldsaye has its own injury concerns ahead of the round clash with Golden Square.
Classy midfielder Shaun Everington injured his ankle in Saturday's loss to Rochester and faces a race against time to be fit for the round one clash with Golden Square.
There's mixed injury news for Kyneton ahead of its return to senior football against Eaglehawk.
Highly-rated recruit Ben Weightman (hamstring) has already been ruled out of the round one game.
Kyneton coach Mark Adamson doesn't expect Weightman, who has impressed in the Tigers' practice matches, to return to action until the round three clash with Gisborne.
Midfielder Ryan Carafa, who has had his pre-season hampered by a broken wrist, is expected to play in round one against the Borough.
Carafa joined the Tigers from VAFA club Old Carey, where he played 16 senior games in 2013, kicking 20 goals.