Aston Villa defender Curtis Davies could be out of action until January after undergoing surgery on his shoulder.
Davies, 24, had been struggling for some time with a persistent shoulder problem which affected his participation in the Peace Cup and in both legs of the club's Europa League qualifier with Rapid Vienna.
He had hoped to avoid surgery but now looks set to be sidelined until the New Year which comes as a huge blow to both the player and the club.
Richard Dunne and James Collins have arrived at Villa to give boss Martin O'Neill more options at centre-back, but the Villa boss says that, long term, surgery was the only option for Davies.
"You have to look at the long-term picture. It's important for the player's future," he said.
"The operation on Curtis went well and it was reasonably routine.
"He will obviously now be out for a fairly long time.
"There is no exact timescale but these things usually clear up in four months plus."