Tranmere Rovers winger Chris Shuker is set to miss the rest of the season with a suspected cruciate ligament injury.
Shuker lasted just nine minutes of the League One Boxing Day clash with Carlisle United after a knock to the knee.
And a scan on Saturday has confirmed both his - and Tranmere's - worst fears.
Tranmere boss Ronnie Moore told the club's official website: "We're looking at maybe September for a return.
"He can't have the operation for four to six weeks because of the bleeding and swelling on his knee.
"It's a blow, but he shouldn't get down about it.
"These injuries used to finish you but now they're ten a penny. He's a gutsy lad and I'm sure he'll progress.
"(Physiotherapist) Les Parry will work him. There's no way you're coming in and having a bacon sandwich, you're coming in and working when you're with Les. He'll want to get away from Les as quick as possible!"
Moore confirmed his team is now 'a bit light' in the wing areas and he is looking at the transfer market.
He added: "You're always looking at the transfer market. Whether it means I have to move one of ours on to move one in, or whether we're at the stage where I have to see what's about to bring in, I'll have to see.
"We are a bit light in the wing areas, and playing 4-4-2 they are important positions."