Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles will undergo hernia surgery after playing though the pain barrier for the past four months.
Manager Rafael Benítez has seen him as a key player for his side this season and originally planned to keep the injury problem a secret with only the United medical staff aware of the situation.
Playing through the pain barrier
Lascelles himself was eager to play despite his injury and was determined to see the season out as the club fought for an immediate return to the Premier League.
The 23-year-old played in the promotion sealing 4-1 victory over Preston North End to take his total appearances for the season to 47.
Lascelles visited a specialist after the game who was shocked the Englishman had been playing for so long despite needing a double hernia operation and advised that he went under the knife as soon as possible.
Season cut short for Lascelles
The Magpies opted to give certain players, including Lascelles, a rest during their 2-0 win at Cardiff on Friday and Benítez agreed after the game it was the right time for the defender to have the operation.
Ciaran Clark’s recent return from injury provides cover for Lascelles going into the last game of the season, but an early injury to either Clark or Chancel Mbemba on during United's next game could give the Magpies a problem with Grant Hanley also sidelined.
Providing there are no complications with the surgery, Lascelles is expected to report back to pre-season training with the rest of the squad at the start of July.
Newcastle host Barnsley on Sunday knowing that a win would secure the Championship title – providing Brighton slip up at Aston Villa.