Aston Villa defender Richard Dunne has undergone a third operation in an attempt to cure his long-standing hip problem.
The centre-back has not played this season after a recurrence of the injury which he initially suffered during the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 campaign, but has now gone under the knife in the United States.
Dunne, 33, underwent two rounds of surgery before it was determined he would need to go overseas for the treatment that would get him playing again.
And manager Paul Lambert is looking forward to having the experienced Irishman back at the club and raring to go next year.
He said: "'Dunny' got hurt at the Euros and it's never really cleared up. I think that's where it's come from.
"He had another operation yesterday in America so hopefully once and for all that will be cleared up.
"I think America was the only place he could get that done. He'll come back in the next few days and hopefully then start his rehab and get going again.
"It's all stemmed from his hip area.
"We tried to sort out one thing and then it went to another, then it's gone to another thing. I've never seen anything like this. I don't think the medical people have seen anything like this."
Lambert insists Villa have not looked at trying to obtain compensation from the Football Association of Ireland over the matter.
He said: "I've not gone down that road. Injuries can happen to players, sometimes you get to the bottom of it, sometimes it takes longer than you think.
"As a footballer you get frustrated because you can't put your finger on what's gone wrong with you. Hopefully this time this has worked."
Lambert was hoping a sickness bug at the club this week would be under control ahead of Saturday's clash at Liverpool.
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