North Melbourne will be without Brad Scott for at least the next four weeks with the senior coach needing back surgery.

Scott couldn’t delay the operation any longer according to Director of Football Geoff Walsh.

“This is something he has been dealing with, and something he hoped he would be able to manage with treatment and medication until the end of the season,” Walsh said.

“Unfortunately, the symptoms and pain levels have become such, he now requires back surgery and that will mean a decent recovery period away from the game.”

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Scott reluctantly made the decision last week to have an operation and he will be absent from Sunday's match against West Coast in Hobart, but is also likely to miss critical matches against Sydney, GWS Giants and Gold Coast as he recovers.

Senior assistant coach Darren Crocker will step in as Scott's replacement and previously played the role of caretaker in 2009 when Dean Laidley resigned. He coached the club for 10 games.

“Slightly complicating things for us is that we have three interstate trips coming up in Rounds 10, 12 and 14 and at this stage; we have been advised Brad will be unable to fly during that time,” Walsh said.

“That means a likely return for Brad in Round 15 or thereabouts. However we expect he will be back on deck and at the club before the Round 14 match.

“Our advice is that after his operation, he’ll be pretty limited with what he can do and he will return when he feels he’s up to it.”

The news comes after Sunday's devastating loss to Collingwood which sees the Kangaroos in 13th spot on the ladder with four wins and five losses.

“We have briefed the players this afternoon and we are confident that our experienced group of assistant coaches and development coaches will also step up to support Darren in Brad’s absence,” Walsh said.

“Leigh Tudor, Shane Watson and Josh Drummond will all be taking on extra responsibility throughout this period.

“We will approach this as a club; the responsibility won’t fall to any one individual.”