Hearts striker Kevin Kyle has seen his season ended prematurely after undergoing hip surgery.
The Scotland international has been sidelined since 11th January, after being forced off injured in a Scottish Cup loss to St Johnstone.
He had a series of injections to treat problems in the groin and stomach region, while double hernia surgery was carried out in March.
Unfortunately for Kyle, he was unable to regain full fitness and has been forced under the knife once more.
He now faces a summer of rehabilitation in an effort to be back in contention for the start of the 2011/12 Scottish Premier League campaign on 23rd July.
Coach Jim Jefferies told Hearts TV: "Kevin has had an operation to clean his hip out and we will wait and see when it settles down how long it's going to take.
"We tried everything and looked at everything.
"Fingers crossed he makes a full recovery.
"Pre-season is the target for him now, whether he makes it or not I don't know as it's such a short break.
"He may miss the early part of it, I don't know."
Meanwhile, Jefferies has reiterated his preference for a split in the SPL over a 10-team league suggested by Scottish Premier League chief executive Neil Doncaster.
He added: "I'm not against the split; playing against each other four times is more of a problem.
"It (the split) is a lot better than what's been proposed, in terms of a 10-team league.
"I'm glad to see that's not getting a lot of encouragement because I don't think that would have been the best way forward - maybe financially, but football-wise I don't think so.
"I'd rather it stayed as it was than what's been proposed."