Coach Nathan Buckley said the early diagnosis was that Howe had injured both his medial and posterior cruciate ligaments.
If the damage is as bad as feared, he could be out of action until the final rounds of this shortened 17-game season – at best.
“His knee hasn’t come out of it that well. We won’t see him for a while, I don’t think,” Buckley said.
“He’s been great, he’s a great leader, great player. I’m devastated for him.
“He puts a lot into his footy, he invests all of himself into it. You are going to lose people as you go along through a season from different times and we will have to cover, and we will.
“It happens in footy, happens in life – things don’t go your way and Howie’s pretty devastated at the moment. These guys have been sitting on their heels for quite a while.
“We’ve all been taken away from doing the things we love in some shape or form and Howie loves his footy. He wears his heart on his sleeve and he invests everything of himself. We’re pretty flat at the moment.”
Howe’s injury worsened the pain for the Pies after their two-point defeat to the Giants, their first loss of the 2020 campaign.
Buckley said Collingwood were too “fumbly” and their failure to hit targets opened the door for GWS to strike on the counter-attack.
“Basics is what the glue is to put your game together,” he said.
“We showed a lot of fight, we were prepared to get our hands dirty and we increased our workrate and got the game on our terms as the game went on but too many basic errors at critical times, and then goalkicking at the end … we didn’t execute that either.”
Vince is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.