Middlesbrough defender Stephen McManus will be out of action for longer than expected after undergoing ankle surgery.
The former Celtic player went under the knife in London on Monday to rectify ligament problems.
Although the operation has been deemed a success, McManus will now spend an extended period on the sidelines recovering.
The 28-year-old was a regular before limping out of their 2-1 win over Crystal Palace and he could now be unavailable for up to four months.
"It was a very clever technique, but it does mean that Stephen will be out of action for around four months," Boro's chief medic Grant Downie told their official website.