West Bromwich Albion FC will be without midfield player Michael Appleton until September.
The 27-year-old midfield player has not played for West Brom's first team since a 1-0 win at Birmingham City FC on 7 November 2001 having damaged his cruciate ligament in a freak training ground accident.
Appleton has since undergone two operations on his injured knee, but was well on the way to recovery. He had played three times for the reserve side in the past six weeks, scoring one goal.
'A massive blow'
"Michael's been looking good in training but has been feeling pain in his knee. He's been to see the surgeon who told him he needs this further operation," said West Brom manager Gary Megson. "It's a massive blow for the club, and especially for Michael. Lesser players wouldn't have been able to get through this."
Variety of experience
Appleton is set to undergo his operation next Wednesday, and will not return to action until September at the earliest. He joined West Brom midway through the 2000/01 season from Preston North End FC and has previously played for Grimsby Town FC, Lincoln City FC and Manchester United FC. He has made 33 appearances for West Brom.