Sunderland defender Paul McShane is battling to be fit for the start of the new season after undergoing a knee operation.
McShane fractured his kneecap on holiday and returned to the North East this week for surgery on the problem.
The Republic of Ireland international will miss the pre-season programme and faces a fight to return for the opening game of the new campaign against Liverpool.
"It was a very complex fracture, but we managed to get Paul back with us straight away so he could get the best possible attention," Sunderland club doctor Glenn Rae told the club's official website.
"The operation was a success and Paul will now undergo intensive rehabilitation during the course of the pre-season.
"We're hopeful he'll be able to return to action by the start of the new season."
The centre-half was looking to use pre-season to prove his worth to manager Roy Keane after barely featuring during the second half of last term.