Stoke defender Robert Huth has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to his knee problem, manager Mark Hughes has announced.
Huth has not played for the first team since injuring his knee in November, which he had surgery on soon after.
Earlier this week, Potters chairman Peter Coates said it was his understanding that it was "very unlikely" the German would feature again this term.
And speaking on Friday, Stoke boss Hughes said: "Robert had an operation last night and unfortunately he is going to miss the end of the season."
Huth has missed 20 matches in all competitions since limping off in Stoke's 2-0 home Barclays Premier League win over Sunderland on November 23.
When suggesting around the time that surgery appeared likely, Hughes said the 29-year-old centre-back would be out for "a number of weeks".
Huth then made a comeback on February 25 by playing 45 minutes of a behind-closed-doors friendly.
But he has not returned to the Potters' matchday squad since then, and will now work towards trying to be fit for the start of 2014/15.
"It has been difficult for us," Hughes said.
"We tried to get him back and he has been very close on a number of occasions, but unfortunately the knee was reacting adversely to any opportunity we had to really push him on.
"Every time we tried to just push him to the next level, that is when the reaction in the knee would force us to take a step back.
"So we took him to the surgeon and he had another look at it and recommended that Robert had another operation, just to get a real understanding of what is going on in the knee.
"By all accounts it was good news in terms of what he found - there is no real structural element to it, it is just that there is an issue in the knee that is causing it to flare up and we now have a better understanding of what is going on.
"So hopefully he will be fit and well to go for the beginning of next season."
Jon Walters is sidelined along with Stoke team-mate Charlie Adam for Saturday's Barclays Premier League home clash with West Ham due to suspension.
Hammers manager Sam Allardyce has no fresh injury concerns.
Andy Carroll is in line to return to the starting line-up for the first time since his red card in the 2-0 win over Swansea, although fellow forward Marco Borriello remains sidelined with a calf injury.
Allardyce wants to see his West Ham players rediscover the clinical nature which saw them win four games in a row before the recent international break.
The Hammers were deeply embroiled in the fight for Baclays Premier League survival until a run of consecutive victories pulled them clear and left them in the top half of the table - with only a defeat at Everton blotting their record ahead of the international friendly fixtures.
Once the favourite to become the next manager to find himself out of work, Allardyce masterminded wins over Swansea, Aston Villa, Norwich and Southampton and is eager to see his side return to winning ways at Stoke.
"The clinical aspect, which we did so well in the four games we'd won on the trot, deserted us at Everton and we've got to get that back," he said.
"We've got to take the opportunities when they arise, we scored against the run of play sometimes, we scored when we were in the ascendancy and we've to make sure we are as clinical as we were in those four games.
"I'm not sure about results because it will be tough to get better results than we've had. We have to try to achieve the results and improve the performances, the demand from me is a level of consistency from the players that will deliver results."