Sunderland defender Stephen Wright’s season could be over after just 103 minutes of football.
The 26-year-old is to see a specialist over the ankle injury that has kept him out of the club’s last two games.
“There could be an ankle operation looming for Stephen,” manager Mick McCarthy told the club’s official website, www.safc.com.
“It’s a bone problem rather than a muscle or ligament problem and we’ll know more when he has been to see the specialist.
“If he says he needs an operation, that will be his season over. If he doesn’t have the op, it would be possible to get him back at some stage, but either way, the operation will need doing at some stage.
“There’s no real point in putting it off and trying to patch him up. He’s not fit to train, so that might take him another two weeks. He could then come back and play one game and then be out for another three weeks.
“To say he hasn’t had much luck this season is putting it mildly.”
Wright suffered knee ligament damage in training just days after the opening game of the season, and has had to contend with thigh and ankle problems since.
He returned in the 2-0 defeat at West Ham on February 4, but was sent off for two bookable offences after just 23 minutes.
Meanwhile, the Black Cats have confirmed their Barclays Premiership trip to Manchester United will be brought forward a day to Good Friday, April 14, for live television coverage.
The derby clash with Newcastle at the Stadium of Light on Easter Monday will kick off at 3pm.