Blackburn Rovers defender Ryan Nelsen looks set to be out until Christmas following an operation to remedy his recurring hamstring injury.
The 28-year-old New Zealand centre back has been struggling with the problem since the start of the summer, and was forced out of Rovers' pre-season campaign as a result.
He has therefore undergone surgery after several fruitless attempts to cure the problem without going under the knife.
While boss Mark Hughes is disappointed with the inevitable length of the recuperation period he hopes to welcome the defender back into the fold as soon as possible.
"Ryan Nelsen had his operation today," Hughes confirmed.
"He is going to be out for around three months, so we'll probably get him back around Christmas time. That's the way we are viewing it.
"It's unfortunate, but it needed to be done, and when he returns he will be like a new player for us."
Former Wigan Athletic centre back Stephane Henchoz has been signed as cover in the meantime, although Hughes admits the die-hard defender is short of match practice.
"He needs a number of weeks," Hughes explained.
"But given the situation we find ourselves in with Ryan, I thought it was too good an opportunity to pass up bringing in a player of Stephane's experience and ability.
"So I'm delighted we've covered the loss of Ryan with somebody of the ability of Stephane."
The Rovers manager has also been boosted by the news that midfielder Steven Reid is fit, and should feature in Thursday's important Uefa Cup first round leg tie away against Salzburg.