Cameron Zurhaar is unsure whether he'll play again this year but the forward has no doubts where his football future lies after re-signing with North Melbourne for two years this week.
Zurhaar broke his right ankle in North's round 16 win over Gold Coast after landing awkwardly in a ruck contest with Jarrod Witts.
The second-year rookie faces another eight to nine weeks on the sidelines, but hasn't given up hope of returning this year if the Kangaroos can push deep into the finals.
Even if he loses this race against time, Zurhaar can now look forward to another two years at Arden Street. Under his new deal, he will remain a rookie next season before being elevated to the Roos' senior list in 2020.
Zurhaar told AFL.com.au it was exciting North had given him another two years to develop and hopefully cement himself in the senior team.
"Longevity, that's what I was really looking for, so it was definitely good to finally get the contract done," Zurhaar said.
"It's so good to think about what we can achieve as a group too. All the boys are young, everyone gets along so well at the club, so it's just a great environment to be part of.
"When I broke my ankle I got a thousand texts from all the boys, saying, 'How are you? What can I do?'
"It's just a great place to be and that's where I want to be for the next two years."
North selected Zurhaar from East Fremantle with pick No.11 in the NAB AFL Rookie Draft at the end of 2016.
A big-bodied youngster, he played four senior games late in his debut season and had added another five this season before his injury, playing predominantly as a medium forward.
Zurhaar added a new string to his bow against the Suns when he pinch-hit in the ruck while Todd Goldstein was off the ground.
At 189cm and 90kg, Zurhaar was conceding 20cm and 21kg to Gold Coast's No.1 ruckman Witts and 14cm and 12kg to his support act Peter Wright.
But the 20-year-old was not daunted by the assignment – "when the coaches told me, I was like, 'Oh crap, that'll be a bit of fun'" – and backed himself to win the ruck contests rather than going up as a decoy.
"I was pretty confident jumping and having a crack. I'd rather have a crack than just end up looking flatfooted and let them get an easy centre clearance," he said.
Zurhaar remains open to reprising his ruck role when he returns despite his injury.
"It was in one of the ruck contests at the boundary line, I just went up and fell down. I heard a crack and wasn't sure if it was me," he said.
"When I tried to get up and run it off, it was a bit sore, so I thought I could be in a bit of trouble.
"But it doesn't put me off rucking. If the club asks me to do it again, I'll definitely give it a crack. It doesn't really faze me too much."
But for now Zurhaar is concentrating on his rehab. His leg will be in a cast for a few more weeks, then a moonboot, after which he is hoping to start running as soon as possible.
The lure of returning to be part a potential North finals campaign is strong, but Zurhaar is not going to take any unnecessary risks with his ankle, saying he will be guided by the club's doctors.
After all, he knows there is always next year – and the year after that.