Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is confident that striker Robin van Persie will make a full recovery from a serious ankle injury, but does not expect the Dutchman to return to action this season.
The Netherlands forward damaged ankle ligaments in a friendly international against Italy last month and is expected to be out for at least five months following surgery.
That means that van Persie will play little or no part in the rest of the Gunners' campaign, but Wenger has no fears about the longer-term prognosis.
He told The Times: "When you have such a big surgery, the opinion of the surgeon is important. Will he be the player he was before? We had a clear answer, 'yes'.
"At the moment, he can't do anything. He's just sitting at home and waiting to work again.
"It's virtually the rest of the season, but I haven't said that to Robin. Hopefully, we'll have a good surprise."