Middlesbrough defender Seb Hines could require two operations after suffering an ankle injury on reserve team duty.
The 21-year-old was stretchered off during Tuesday afternoon's second string encounter with Morecambe and is now facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Centre-back Hines will go under the knife on Saturday to stabilise the ankle and he will be assessed again in between six and eight weeks' time.
Depending on the progress of the injury, there is a possibility that the unlucky youngster may need further surgery.
The youngster had only just returned to the first-team picture after shaking off a knee problem and was an unused substitute for Sunday's 1-0 home defeat by Cardiff.
He was tipped to be drafted in to the Boro back four for Sunday's Tyne-Tees derby date with Newcastle at St James' Park with Gordon Strachan short of options.
A club statement said: "He [Hines] will have his first operation at Woodlands Hospital in Darlington on Saturday to stabilise the ankle.
"The injury will be reviewed in six-to-eight weeks' time with the possibility of a further operation."