Liverpool's Dietmar Hamann has been ruled out of action until November after suffering a recurrence of a shin injury.
The German midfield man was troubled by the injury for the last six months of last season - but thought the problem had been cured by summer surgery.
But the injury has flared up again after Liverpool's Far East tour and the 29-year-old underwent another operation in Germany on Tuesday.
It is a massive blow for Liverpool, who will also be without Steven Gerrard for the opening game of the season against Chelsea at Anfield because of suspension.
Anfield boss Gerard Houllier said: "It is a blow for the player and for the club. Things like this show why it is so important we have a strong squad."