Hull City defender Anthony Gardner will miss the rest of the season after X-rays revealed four fractured vertebrae in the base of his spine.
Gardner has endured a frustrating first season with The Tigers as injuries have restricted him to just eight appearances for Phil Brown's men.
The centre-back missed five months of action with worrying thigh problems before sustaining his latest setback in the FA Cup defeat by Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.
KC Stadium boss Brown has backed the former Tottenham player to recover fully from the latest blow and be back in action in time for pre-season training.
He told the club's official website: "Unfortunately, the X-ray has found that there are four fractured vertebrae in the base of Anthony's spine.
"That manifests itself in that he will be out for the rest of the season.
"It's a big blow. Anthony has been very unlucky and we sympathise with how unlucky he has been. It's been a stop-start season for him to say the least.
"People have questioned whether he can physically handle it at this level. We certainly think he can.
"We brought him in to do a job and he has Premier League experience. He had formed a reasonable partnership with Michael Turner in a short space of time.
"It's an unusual injury for a footballer. With rest and recuperation, he'll be back for pre-season training."