Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Steven Pienaar was today ruled out for up to six weeks after undergoing groin surgery.
South Africa captain Pienaar was forced to go under the knife after injuring himself in Spurs' final pre-season friendly against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.
The north London club said in a statement on their official website, www.tottenhamhotspur.com: "Following scans and consultation with an independent groin specialist, Steven Pienaar underwent groin surgery this morning.
"The South Africa international was forced off with the injury in the first half of Saturday's pre-season friendly against Athletic Bilbao and is expected to be sidelined with the injury for up to six weeks."
That would rule Pienaar, 29, out of up to eight games for Spurs, starting with Saturday's Barclays Premier League opener against Everton.
He would also sit out crunch meetings with Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool, as well as this month's UEFA Europa League play-off tie against Hearts and Tottenham's opening group match should they qualify.
Spurs are well stocked in midfield and should be able to cope with the absence of a player who has faced a battle to dislodge Gareth Bale on the left wing ever since his January move from Everton.