Queens Park Rangers manager Neil Warnock has admitted injury-hit Kieron Dyer may not play again this season.
Dyer is set for a foot operation on Monday after limping off in the early stages of a reserve team comeback.
The 32-year-old suffered the original injury just seven minutes into his QPR debut on the opening day of the season.
"This is a devastating blow for Kieron," said Warnock, who now looks set to leave Dyer out of his 25-man Premier League squad in January.
"I have never met a more determined pro in my career. He really doesn't deserve this."
Former England international Dyer has been plagued with injury problems throughout his career.
QPR handed a one-year deal to the midfielder, who has managed just 41 appearances for club and country over the last five seasons, in the summer.
He looked close to making a first-team return after four months on the sidelines before the latest setback during the Hoops' second-string game against Tottenham on Tuesday.
But Warnock insists there is no chance the west London club will take up an option to terminate Dyer's contract in January.
He said: "I have absolutely no doubt that he will recover after the operation.
"Having spoke to [QPR owner] Tony Fernandes and the rest of the shareholders we want to support Kieron in this time, even though it may mean he is not in our 25 for the rest of the season.
"And even though he has not featured for us, he has made a vital contribution at the training ground and has been very important to have around the place."