Manchester City have confirmed that Valeri Bojinov faces six months on the sidelines following successful surgery to repair his torn Achilles tendon.
The injury-plagued striker suffered the blow in the warm-up prior to Sunday's Premier League opener against Aston Villa.
The 22-year-old Bulgaria striker was hoping to make only his fourth appearance in a City shirt following his £7million signing 12 months ago.
The luckless Bojinov suffered cruciate knee ligament damage on his first start for the club in August 2007 and was sidelined for the rest of the campaign.
"This was a completely new problem and had no relationship to his knee injury," club doctor Mark Whitaker told the club's official website.
"He had surgery on Monday afternoon - the aim is for repair as soon as possible after the injury.
"His rehab will initially involve letting the tendon repair and then a gradual strength programme with an anticipated return date in six months.
"Everything went very well at the time of surgery and Valeri is fit and well post-op."
Meanwhile, fellow striker Benjani Mwaruwari has targeted his own return from a thigh muscle injury in the next month.
"I'm working on my thigh slowly but surely. In the next two weeks I hope to start running," he confirmed.