Aston Villa defender Martin Laursen has been ruled out for the rest of the season because of a knee injury.
The Denmark international, 28, had surgery in the United States on Wednesday in a bid to cure the problem.
Villa boss David O'Leary told the club website: "I have spoken to our physio Alan Smith and he has confirmed we will not see Martin in action this season.
"It is a blow but it is one I was prepared for. I was looking at him in pre-season thinking he was not 100%."
O'Leary signed Laursen for £3m last summer in the hope of teaming him up in a solid defensive partnership with Villa skipper Olof Mellberg.
However, the Dane has barely featured since his move from AC Milan and has played just 13 times due to ongoing problems with his knee.
After a long time on the sidelines last term he made his comeback by scoring against Middlesbrough in March and but soon on the treatment table again.
Laursen's only first-team appearance during the current campaign was on the opening day of the season against Bolton.
O'Leary recently bolstered Villa's defence with the signing of Wilfred Bouma from PSV Eindhoven.