Hungarian midfielder Zoltan Gera has been ruled out of the remainder of the season at West Bromwich Albion after suffering a ruptured cruciate ligament in his left knee.
It is the second time in little over a year that Gera, 33, has suffered a serious knee injury, with scans now having confirmed the extent of the damage suffered in the 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Gera has been scheduled for surgery next week and has been told he faces a six-to-nine-month rehabilitation programme, but Albion head coach Steve Clarke is convinced Gera can return to action again at the start of next season.
Gera suffered a similar injury in November 2011 and returned in time for the start of Clarke's reign at the Hawthorns, and the Scot believes his influential midfielder can do the same again, with the help of Albion's medical staff.
"I'm devastated for Zoltan," he told the club's official website. "He's a terrific guy and professional and I want to thank him for his contribution this season. It has been invaluable.
"He'll now get our full support during the rehab process. Zoltan has already proven he can come back from this injury once and produce at the highest level and I have no doubts he will do so again."
Gera has made 18 appearances this term and the loss of the former Fulham midfielder could increase Jerome Thomas' chances of remaining at the club for the rest of the season.
Thomas was wanted by Leeds United after a successful loan spell at Elland Road, and several other Championship clubs have made enquiries about loaning him for the remainder of the season.
Clarke had been willing to listen to offers for the left-sided midfielder, but the loss of Gera will now bring about a rethink, with Thomas now likely to be included in the 25-man Premier League squad for the rest of the season.