The club announced on Tuesday that Clark, who was injured in the Demon's loss to Brisbane on Sunday, will require minor surgery on his right foot to have a screw removed.
Clark missed most of last season after sustaining a Lisfranc injury on the same foot in round 11. This season he had seven goals in four games for Melbourne.
"This operation was originally planned to occur at the end of the season," the club said in a statement.
"However, following consultation between the medical staff, specialists, and Clark it was decided that by taking the screw out now, this removes one of the main contributing factors to his current foot complaints and gives Mitch more freedom and movement to play uninhibited football in the second half of 2013 and for the remainder of his career," the statement continued.
Melbourne football manager Josh Mahoney said that Clark's Lisfranc repair was stable, but other problems have led to the decision to have surgery.
"While this is obviously disappointing for Mitch, and any operation during the season is not ideal, the benefit is that after Mitch recovers he will be able to play the second half of the year and begin the preseason without any further interruptions," he said.
Clark injured his foot a week ago last Sunday during the comeback game in the final quarter against the Giants. He didn't return to the field, watching from the sidelines with ice on his foot. Melbourne coach Mark Neeld initially said that Clark had a mild foot sprain.
At the time co-captain Jack Grimes said the injury wasn't as bad as originally thought. "I spoke to him after the game, he said he thinks it's fine," Grimes said. "He just gave the ankle a bit of a tweak, it wasn't anything to do with the same injury. It was a bit of a risk-free policy with that foot. They didn't want any variables going on in terms of pain-killers."
Reference: ABC.net.au and AFL.com.au
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