Manchester City full-back Wayne Bridge is set to be sidelined for around a month after undergoing a hernia operation yesterday afternoon, the Premier League club have confirmed.
The 29-year-old was forced off after aggravating the long-standing injury in the first half of City's 1-1 draw at Sunderland on Sunday and will now miss a crucial phase of the season, with the Eastlands club bidding to secure fourth place in the Premier League and with it a place in next season's Champions League.
Bridge had only recently returned to first-team action for Roberto Mancini's side after missing 13 games with a knee injury.
His comeback in the loss at Hull on February 6 was played out in the glare of an intense media spotlight after allegations of an affair between his former partner Vanessa Perroncel and ex-Chelsea team-mate John Terry.
Bridge subsequently brought an end to his World Cup chances by announcing he would not accept an invitation from Fabio Capello to play alongside Terry in the England set-up.
Yesterday's operation, which was announced on City's official website, is set to rule Bridge out of league games against Fulham, Everton, Wigan, Burnley and Birmingham, although he could return in time to feature against city rivals Manchester United on April 17.