St Mirren's Steven Thompson faces three months on the sidelines, after manager Tommy Craig confirmed the striker needs surgery on a groin injury.
Captain Thompson was the Buddies' top scorer last season, netting 13 goals.
But the 35-year-old has featured just twice this term, with St Mirren yet to pick up a league point.
"It's a massive blow. We now know he is going to be out for quite some time and it's a kick in the guts," manager Craig said.
"I've tried hard not to talk about Stevie because it would sound like an excuse.
"The people I brought in during the summer, Ross Caldwell, Callum Ball and James Marwood, were brought in to play alongside him so that he could educate them and they could take a bit of the weight off him," Craig added.
"All of a sudden the talisman is not there but we just have to crack on."
St Mirren face Partick Thistle in the Premiership on Friday night.