West Ham midfielder Jack Collison is set to be out until next year after recovering from knee surgery.
The 21-year-old suffered cartilage damage last season and has not been able to fully shake off the problem ever since.
He has started 20 games for the Hammers this term although his last outing was an international fixture for Wales against Sweden in March.
Manager Gianfranco Zola said: "He had an operation the other day and they told me he is going to be out for nine months.
"I know he is a strong fellow and I am sure he will be quicker than that. I wish him a quick recovery."
Collison, a former Peterborough and Cambridge youngster, has been tipped as a rising star and will want to get over this severe setback as soon as possible.