Jonny Evans is ready to go under the surgeon's knife in a bid to cure a troublesome ankle injury.
The Manchester United defender has been struggling since picking up the injury at the back end of last year and has been playing through the pain barrier.
Evans has been happy to cover for the injured Rio Ferdinand and will continue to do so until his team-mate returns to action.
It is thought Evans could go in for surgery when he returns from international duty in early September, which would rule him out of the Manchester derby towards the back end of the month.
Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington is keen to have the player for upcoming World Cup qualifiers but insists Evans must do what he feels right.
"It's completely Jonny's call. I'm not going to get into a battle with Sir Alex," Worthington said.
"The heath of the player must come first. Jonny rang me to say that he may need an operation but he wants to try and battle through until after the internationals."