Aston Villa defender Martin Laursen will be out of action for two months after undergoing knee surgery.
The Denmark international has been carrying the injury in recent weeks and it has been decided that he should now go under the knife.
The former AC Milan player has a history of knee problems and at one stage early in his Villa career it looked as though he would have to quit the game but Villa were quick to stress the current problem is in his right knee, not the left one which has given him all his previous problems.
A Villa statement read: "Martin Laursen has been ruled out for eight weeks after undergoing a knee operation."
Laursen has been an inspirational figure for Martin O'Neill's side and played a key role in them qualifying for this season's UEFA Cup and sustaining a challenge for a top four place in the Barclays Premier League.
He has formed a solid defensive partnership with Curtis Davies and has also had the knack of weighing in with several important goals.
His absence means Zat Knight and Carlos Cuellar will be battling for a place in the back four alongside Davies.
Laursen will miss Villa's next UEFA Cup clash with CSKA Moscow towards the end of February and a host of Premier League matches.
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