Everton captain Phil Neville has suffered a setback in his recovery from injury and faces surgery on his knee.
Neville has been out of action since picking up a knee ligament injury against Fulham in September.
The former Manchester United man was understood to be making good progress with the injury and was eyeing a return to the side for this weekend's Merseyside derby with Everton.
However, Neville has been forced to undergo a minor operation after complications with his knee problem.
"Phil Neville has had to go in for a minor operation on his knee and that's put him back for a few weeks," said Everton boss David Moyes.
Better news on the injury front is that South African ace Steven Pienaar could return against Hull City on Wednesday after recovering from a knee knock.
The skilful midfielder, who has been out since September, is back in training and he could feature at the KC Stadium.
"He's got a chance," noted Moyes. "He's close and is doing a bit of training."