Reading striker Noel Hunt has undergone knee surgery amid fears he could be ruled out for the whole season.
The striker, brother of former Royals favourite Stephen, has suffered with the problem since the back end of last season restricting him to just five league starts this term.
The 26-year-old will now be monitored over the coming weeks to give the club a chance to gauge his rehabilitation.
The former Dunfermline frontman will miss Ireland's World Cup qualifying games with France in November as Royals manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed Hunt will be out for the season.
The news will come as a blow to Rodgers as he looks to guide his side out of the bottom three following a run of four straight defeats.
"Noel's been struggling with the injury on and off for some time now," Rodgers told getreading.co.uk today.
"He's having the operation to help sort things out and that will probably rule him out for the rest of the season."
Better news for Rodgers is that defender Darren O'Dea is back in training after a groin problem ruled him out of the 1-0 defeat by Leicester on Monday.
Fellow defender Chris Armstrong could return to training next week while Oliver Bozanic and striker Radoslav Vasilev are also nearing full fitness.