Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs will not play again this season after the club decided to send the left-back for surgery on a fractured metatarsal.
Gibbs, 20, sustained a depressed open fracture to his left foot following a tackle from Standard Liege's Eliaquim Manga in a Champions League game on November 24.
The injury came at an inopportune time for the England Under-21 international, who had been asked to deputise for established left-back Gael Clichy following a fitness setback for the Frenchman.
Gibbs had even been tipped as a possible contender for Fabio Capello's World Cup squad but the news he will miss the remainder of the season has put paid to any talk of a shock senior call up, as well as curtailing his involvement for Arsenal.
"Needless to say I'm gutted - there's just no other word," Gibbs told the club's official magazine. "The other option than surgery would have been to wait and let the bone grow in my foot, but we didn't want to do that because I'd have to wait another six weeks just to have another scan.
"I'd run the risk of it carrying on into next season, and we don't want to do that. I'm now just looking to recover from the injury, work really hard and be ready for next season."
Manager Arsene Wenger said: "That is sad news because I rate him highly. I had hoped that the first surgery would be successful. It wasn't. The damage done on the bone was too much. He now needs a little bone transplant and that takes him out for the season."
News of Gibbs needing surgery is yet another injury setback for Arsenal who have already lost Robin van Persie and Johan Djourou to long-term problems this season. Arsene Wenger is also without Aaron Ramsey and Samir Nasri at present, while Abou Diaby suffered an injury in Wednesday's 4-2 win over Wolves.