Collingwood is bracing to be without gun defender Jeremy Howe for an extended period after a brutal knee collision in the final quarter of the Pies' loss on Friday night.

Howe and Greater Western Sydney midfielder Jacob Hopper charged at one another in pursuit of the Sherrin, with the Magpie's right knee crashing into the side of the Giant as they smashed together.

Coach Nathan Buckley said doctors' early diagnosis was that Howe has suffered damage to his medial and posterior cruciate ligaments.

"We won't see him for a while, I don't think," Buckley told reporters.

"He's shattered. These guys have been sitting on their heels for quite a while (with the COVID-19 season shutdown).

"We've all been taken away from doing the things we love in some shape or form, and 'Howey' loves his footy.

"He wears his heart on his sleeve and he invests everything of himself, so we all feel pretty flat at the moment."

Howe was amid another strong performance when the injury occurred, winning 23 disposals and six intercept possessions and generating almost 500m gained.

The 29-year-old's been arguably the competition's in-form defender through the first four rounds.

"He's been great. He's a great leader, a great player. I'm devastated for him," Buckley said.

"He puts a lot into his footy – he invests all of himself into it – so you are going to lose people as you go along, through a season, at different times, and we will have to cover – and we will – but right now … Howey's devastated."

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Howe knee injury

Jeremy Howe was helped from the field after a collision with GWS player Jacob Hopper.

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04:51 Mins
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Post Match: Nathan Buckley

The Collingwood coach speaks after the loss to Greater Western Sydney.

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