Fiorentina playmaker Mario Santana is set to be sidelined for the rest of the season following surgery.
Santana suffered leg and knee injuries during Fiorentina's clash with Bologna earlier this month and had to be stretchered off the pitch.
Scans later revealed he had damaged knee ligaments, although it was hoped that he would avoid an operation.
Further tests on Monday left Fiorentina with no option but to send Santana under the knife and he is not now likely to return until the summer.
News of Santana's absence will come as a major blow to manager Cesare Prandelli as Fiorentina look to secure European qualification.