Birmingham City striker Garry O'Connor is facing around four months on the sidelines due to an ongoing groin problem.
The 26-year-old Scotland international underwent surgery last season on a similar problem, but has continued to be troubled by the injury during the current campaign.
Blues manager Alex McLeish told the club's official website: "We think he's got to have an operation at some stage on his hip before he plays again.
"That is the kind of road we're going down, so it's another man down which isn't great in terms of our striking options.
"Garry's problem is related to what he had last year. He had an operation on part of the groin ligament in there because of wear of tear.
"I've not got the full technical details, but the wear and tear has caused a little bit of bone growth or something has calcified, so he'll have to get it shaved because it's affecting his mobility in that area.
"In all likelihood he has got to go for an operation and we could be talking three or four months."