Roar skipper out for A-League season
Defending champions Brisbane Roar's woes have worsened with captain Matt Smith ruled out for rest of the A-League season due to hip surgery.
Smith underwent an operation on Wednesday and will be sidelined for four months, ending any chance he could return in time for the play-offs.
The Socceroos defender hasn't played or trained for the past month due to a hip labrum tear but, even as recently as Tuesday, he remained optimistic of featuring again this season.
The Roar have sorely missed his leadership and poise in central defence with James Donachie, Matt Jurman and Ivan Franjic all sharing time in his position beside Jade North.
"I am bitterly disappointed to be out for the rest of the season," Smith said in a statement.
"I am still confident the rest of the boys can finish off the season well and I'm now firmly focused on working hard in my recovery."
Brisbane have been a shadow of the side which scooped 2010-11 and 2011-12 A-League titles, dropping to eighth on the ladder following their 2-1 loss to Sydney FC on Sunday.
The Roar play an Asian Champions League qualifier against Thailand's Buriram United on Wednesday night before flying home to play Wellington Phoenix at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.