Sunderland forward Emanuele Giaccherini is unlikely to play again this season after undergoing surgery on an ankle injury, says manager Gus Poyet.
The Italy international, 29, has been ruled out for a minimum of 12 weeks after having the operation on Thursday.
Giaccherini, a £6.5m signing from Juventus in July 2013, has made just two Premier League starts this season.
"We need to be sure he is 100% and we wish him well and hope he will make a full recovery," said Poyet.
He missed two months with the injury earlier in the season and aggravated it an a fourth-round FA Cup replay win at Fulham.
Giaccherini missed the start of the season with a groin injury before finding himself on the sidelines again in the autumn with ankle trouble.