Wigan Athletic will be without Donervon Daniels until mid-October with the big defender’s knee injury requiring surgery.
Daniels has seen his pre-season wrecked by a niggling problem that has refused to go away.
After limited involvement in the warm-up matches, he made a late substitute appearance at Bristol City on opening day and struggled to get to grips with the game.
With the knee problem showing no signs of abating, boss Gary Caldwell admitted surgery is the only answer.
“He’s going to need an operation after seeing a specialist last Friday,” revealed Caldwell.
“He’s had a problem with his knee on and off over pre-season, and the surgeon’s going to go in and operate.
“It’s just a clean-up operation, and hopefully he should be back in around eight weeks.
“It’s something we put on and off, but it kept coming back plaguing him.
“Any time he tried to do high-intensity stuff, his knee would fill up with fluid.
“But once it’s fixed hopefully he’ll be able to crack on and it shouldn’t bother him after that.
“It’s obviously a blow for him, but it’s also a big blow for us.
“He gives us that versatility that’s so important.
“But he will get the problem fixed, and he will be back stronger.”
The loss of Daniels is the latest crushing blow to Caldwell, who has already seen fellow defenders Reece James (ankle), Andy Kellett (knee) and loan arrival Kyle Knoyle (elbow) sidelined for several months.
“It seems to be the injuries we’re picking up at the moment are all long term, and in similar areas at full-back,” Caldwell added.
“But I think we’ve shown that the squad can adapt and people can step in and take the opportunity to help the team keep ticking along.”