Sunderland defender Paul McShane will be out for at least three months after being told he needs knee surgery.
The Republic of Ireland international sustained the injury shortly after scoring in the 4-0 friendly win at Darlington on Thursday night and did not travel with the rest of the first-team squad on their pre-season trip to Portugal.
Tests have now shown McShane needs to have an operation, ruling him out of the start of the new Barclays Premier League season.
Manager Steve Bruce told the club's official website, www.safc.com: "This news is exactly what we didn't want and now we will be without Paul for a while."
There was better news for Bruce on goalkeeper Marton Fulop, who returned to training on Sunday morning after overcoming an Achilles injury.