Melbourne Heart winger Adrian Zahra has undergone knee surgery after being injured in a shocking tackle by Victory skipper Kevin Muscat in last Saturday's A-League clash.
Veteran Muscat's career is expected to be over after he was banned for eight weeks for the two-footed challenge, while Zahra's season has also ended.
Heart's football operations manager John Didulica said Zahra couldn't avoid going under the knife.
"Whilst we initially hoped Adrian could avoid surgery, upon further surgical assessment, a decision was made to perform knee surgery on the ligaments in his right knee," he said in a statement on Friday.
"The initial assessment is that the surgery was a success and Adrian should be able to undertake a modified pre-season with a view to being available for the early rounds of the 2011/12 A-League season."
He said that the 20-year-old wouldn't be rushed in his recovery.
"Adrian is contacted to the club for two seasons, so we won't be rushing his return.
"We have full confidence that our high performance team will ensure this is just a minor hurdle for Adrian as he goes on to bigger and better things in the coming years."