Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross is set for two months on the sidelines after it was confirmed he requires back surgery.
The defender is due to go under the knife next week, having suffered a recurrence of an issue that hampered him last season.
It had been hoped that surgery would not be required, but Shawcross has been unable to shake off the problem during the close-season break.
Stoke kick off their Premier League season at home to Liverpool on Sunday.
Shawcross was part of the Stoke team that ended last season with a 6-1 victory over the Merseyside outfit.
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