Donegal defender Karl Lacey will be sidelined for 12 weeks after having surgery on a hip problem.
Lacey, who was named Footballer of the Year in October after Donegal's All-Ireland triumph, is set to miss the early stages of the National League.
The Four Masters centre half-back earned a fourth All Star spot this year, reflecting his consistent excellence for the county.
Donegal face Kildare in their league opener at Croke Park on 2 February.
Lacey missed Sunday's RTE Sports Awards after being advised against travelling to Dublin by his surgeon.
Donegal won the Team of the Year award while Olympic gold medalist Katie Taylor was named Sports Person of the Year.