Aston Villa defender Richard Dunne looks certain to miss out on Ireland's upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria in March after undergoing surgery to correct a recurring injury.
The 33-year-old centre back has been out of action since June 2012 after sustaining an injury at Euro 2012 and Villa boss Paul Lambert said that he had 'never seen anything like [it]'.
"Richard has had the operation in America and we are all hoping that once and for all it will be cleared up," Lambert told the Irish Examiner. "This was the only place where we could get it done.
"He will come back over from the States in the next few days and hopefully start his re-hab and then begin to look to the future."
He continued: "The problem all stemmed from the hip area. That is where it came from. I’ve never seen anything like this and the medical people have never seen anything like this either.
"We have got to hope it has now been cleared up by this operation," added Lambert.