Star Brisbane Roar attacker Brett Holman has been ruled out until the new year after undergoing surgery on his injured knee.
In a huge blow for the A-League title aspirants, the former Socceroo was sent for scans this week after complaining of discomfort in his knee, which revealed a small tear in his meniscus.
It means the 32-year-old, whose back-ended contract will result in him becoming a marquee player at the Roar next season, will be sidelined for at least the next six weeks -- a crucial stretch in the context of the A-League's premiership race.
The Roar face newly crowned FFA Cup champions Melbourne City on Saturday night before clashes with Adelaide United (home), Central Coast Mariners (away), Western Sydney Wanderers (home), Sydney FC (away), Newcastle Jets (home) and Melbourne Victory (away).
However, Thomas Kristensen and Brandon Borrello have recovered from hamstring injuries and are in the squad to face City at AAMI Park.
In a statement, the club said having surgery immediately would ensure Holman's fitness for the second half of the season and for the Roar's AFC Champions League qualifier on Feb. 7, to be played at a yet-to-be-determined Brisbane venue.
Holman has been a strong performer since joining Brisbane in the off-season, scoring his first A-League goal in last month's 1-1 draw with Adelaide.
It's expected Dimitri Petratos, who was the Roar's first-choice No.10 last season, will slot into midfield to replace him.
Brisbane have drawn their past three matches and sit fourth on the ladder, equal on points with Victory, who have a game in hand.