David Dunn will go under the surgeon's knife next weekend in a bid to get himself right for next season.
The injury-plagued Birmingham City midfield man has already been forced to write off this season after suffering a recurrence of the hamstring problem that has blighted his two years at St Andrew's.
Dunn has been restricted to just 11 Premiership appearances this term after missing half of last season but Blues are hoping that, by taking action now, he might be ready for pre-season training in July.
Having been sent to see more than one top specialist, Dunn has twice undergone a series of injections into his back in a bid to patch him up.
But Blues now believe the probable cause of Dunn's continuing problems is down to a nerve in his lumbar region which does not 'fire' correctly, impacting on his hamstrings. And at least setting the date for the operation will help the £5.5 million signing focus on his latest comeback bid.
"Dunny will have his operation a week on Saturday," confirmed manager Steve Bruce. "We made the decision to write him off for our remaining games. and we hope to have him back in time for pre-season."
The short-term injury prognosis is also a bit brighter for Blues. Stan Lazaridis Mario Melchiot, who suffered a painful leg injury in the first half of the 2-0 win over Liverpool 11 days ago, are both expected to be fit for Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace.
Both have reported fit for training this week after Blues' perhaps-timely weekend lay-off, as has loan signing Salif Diao but it is still clearly too early to put any comeback date yet on Bruce's other injury-plagued midfielder, Muzzy Izzet.
Bruce, however, has scotched any suggestion that Blues might have any longterm worries about Izzet. "We are quite confident there's nothing too serious," he said. "We've just got to wait for all that inflammation to settle."