Hartlepool United defender Matthew Bates has undergone surgery to remove a haematoma in his thigh muscle to aid recovery from a severe dead leg.
The 28-year-old has been out since early February after suffering the injury in a defeat by Portsmouth.
"We've tried to allow the injury to settle down over time," physio Ian Gallagher told the club website.
"Had he not had the surgery now, then his season would have almost certainly been over."
Meanwhile defender David Mirfin has extended his loan stay at Victoria Park until the end of this season.
Mirfin, 29, has made six appearances since his initial loan move from Scunthorpe United last month.