Newcastle defender Steven Taylor is set to miss the rest of the season after learning he needs surgery on his injured Achilles.
Taylor, 25, limped off during the closing stages of Saturday's 3-0 Premier League defeat by Chelsea and Newcastle manager Alan Pardew admitted after the match that he expected the centre-back to be out for a long period.
Pardew's worst fears were realised on Sunday when the club confirmed that Taylor would have an operation on Monday that will leave him facing a lengthy spell of rehabilitation.
A club spokesman said: "Steven sustained an Achilles injury yesterday at the end of our game with Chelsea.
"After medical assessment, he will be having surgery tomorrow and it is likely he will be out for the rest of the season."
The news, while not unexpected, will come as a huge blow to Pardew, who also saw Argentina centre-back Fabricio Coloccini limp off during the first half of the Chelsea game with a thigh strain.
Coloccini, Newcastle's captain, will be a doubt for next Saturday's trip to Norwich in which James Perch, who replaced him against Chelsea, is certain to start.
Pardew has been able to field the same back five in each of the Magpies 14 games to date this season, and that has proved a significant factor in the club's fine start.
However, Pardew was always aware that, with Mike Williamson still working his way back to fitness after a broken arm and an ankle problem, there was a lack of depth in the defensive area.