Tony Pulis insists Mamady Sidibe can still have a future at Stoke despite his latest injury setback.
After being ruled out with a ruptured Achilles tendon since August, the 31-year-old striker suffered a crushing repeat of the injury in training last week.
Sidibe had been working his way back to fitness, scoring on his comeback for the Potters reserves last Tuesday.
However, he snapped the tendon again just 48 hours later and must now concentrate on getting fit for the start of next season.
Stoke boss Pulis told the club's official website: "It's the same ankle but higher up on the tendon this time.
"It's wretched luck for the lad, who has had more than his fair share of injury setbacks over the past two years.
"But there is no reason why he can't battle his way back to full fitness. I know he has the determination and dedication to do it, and we will give him all the support that he needs.
"He would definitely have played some part in the second half of our season and he was very close to being ready for inclusion in the squad so this is a massive blow for him and us."
The setback is the latest in a series of major injuries for Sidibe, who arrived at the Britannia Stadium in June 2005 and is contracted at the club until next summer.
The Mali international was absent for most of 2009 after damaging knee ligaments, while he was stabbed in the arm by Togo fans following an African Nations Cup qualifier in 2007.