Gary Mackay-Steven delivers Dundee Utd injury blow
Dundee United winger Gary Mackay-Steven will be sidelined for up to six weeks following knee surgery.
The 21-year-old featured in Saturday's defeat by Kilmarnock after medical advice suggested he would be fit.
However, following the match manager Peter Houston said that an operation was necessary.
"As long as it's done and fixed and the lad will work hard to get better," said Houston. "He'll have a huge rehab programme starting from now."
The Scotland Under-21 midfielder has been carrying an injury for several months now and underwent surgery on Wednesday.
Mackay-Steven, who has been praised for his early season form, withdrew from the Billy Stark's international squad two weeks ago and sat out United's 3-0 Dundee derby win.
"The actual injury was a bit worse than the scan showed up to be, but nothing major," said Houston.
"The surgeon is still of the opinion that it'll be six weeks. We had thought at best four, but we can rule that out now and look towards the six weeks.
"We'll look forward to getting him back, but we have to put him to the back of our mind just now."
Houston also conceded that while Mackay-Steven's injury was a blow, it presents an opportunity for other players to stake a claim for a first-team place.
"There's boys who've been desperate for a regular place, good players - good young players - and they've not been given that opportunity yet," said Houston.
"As yet, I've still to make my mind up who is going to replace him, but certainly the players who could come in are exciting young players."
On Tuesday, via Twitter, Mackay-Steven said: "Disappointed to be missing some big games. I'll come back fitter and stronger."