Wolves have confirmed that Stephen Ward will be out for months rather than weeks with a cartilage injury.
The striker, who has been used as a left-back this season, injured his knee in the 1-0 defeat to Manchester City just three games into the new campaign.
Newly promoted Wolves initially thought the 24-year-old would be out for three weeks but the true extent of the injury was only discovered once the surgeon had started the operation.
The surgery revealed that Ward had suffered a tear to his cartilage, something that went unnoticed on the previous scans.
"The procedure discovered a problem which can't really be seen on a scan and only becomes clear during the operation," head of Wolves' medical department Steve Kemp told the club's official website.
"The good news for Stephen in terms of his long-term career is that the cartilage tear could be repaired and the cartilage didn't have to be removed.
"Unfortunately for the short-term for him and the team it means he'll be out longer than expected and it's likely to be two to three months rather than two to three weeks.
"The surgeon was very happy with the operation and Stephen will have some time to rest before coming back to start his rehab."
The news will come as a blow to manager Mick McCarthy but he has already backed Ward to come back stronger.
"We thought it was going to be a little tear and he'd be out for a couple of weeks," he stated.
"But having seen the specialist he has had to have the cartilage repaired.
"It's really disappointing for Wardy because he has waited so long to get to the Premier League and when he got here he's been great and started the season really well.
"We'll get him right though, and there will still be a large part of the season left when he gets back.
"He could be out for anything up to 12 weeks but knowing Wardy he'll break the record for getting back."