Exmark Lazer Z back wheel wobble/shaft issues - need help

Hwmyers8

LawnSite Member
Mower: 2008 Exmark Lazer Z 60 in. 27 hp model: LZ27KC604

Yesterday I noticed my left rear wheel wobbling a little (or at least it was not exactly straight) on my Exmark Lazer Z. I have noticed this before earlier this year, possibly last year as well, but when jacking it up and checking the wheel it felt very solid. A few years back I had this problem on the other side, which turned out to be a loose/damaged key slot on the hub. I only noticed the wobble when driving on pavement, not noticeable on turf. Also when driving on pavement I noticed after driving a bit (lawn was down the road) the mower ride started to get bumpy/wobble, almost as a flat tire (except the tires are good of course). Bumpy wobble seemed to possibly be from same wobble side/left side.
I jacked up the mower and tried to find any play in the wheel assembly. I got the faintest click of movement by push/pulling the tire. I took the wheel off and the hub. Hub was solid as was the key/key slot. After taking the hub off, I tried the shaft coming out of the wheel motor. Bingo. There's a slight play that shouldn't be there. Picture of it is included.
So now I'm just wondering what exactly needs fixing. I am literate with mower repair but not extensively. Why is the shaft not solid? How hard is it to fix? I assume it can be fixed without a whole new wheel motor? I assume the mower wobble is a result of the shaft? Also, how much of an emergency is this repair? Of course I want to get it fixed soon as I can, but in the mean time can I get my lawns done? (I have one 8 acre property and 3 residential) I assume it isn't a cease-all-operations immediately kind of problem since it has been going on for a while and isn't getting exponentially worse by the day (like a bad key slot on the hub might). Any help and direction on this issue would be deeply appreciated!!
 

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