Sheffield Wednesday have been dealt a big blow in their quest to secure a top-six finish with the news that Kieran Lee is likely to miss a big chunk of the second half of the season due to injury.
The Star understands the influential midfielder is expected to be out of action for a minimum of three months following hip surgery.
Lee, who has weighed in with four goals this season, went under the knife on Thursday. He posted on Instagram: “So guys, I’ve had surgery on my hip injury today! It just wasn’t possible to carry on playing with it anymore. Everything went really well and I’ll be working hard to come back better and stronger.. thanks everybody for the continuous support.”
The injury has hampered Lee over the last month, with boss Carlos Carvalhal having to take him off at half-time against both Rotherham United and then Wolverhampton Wanderers last Monday. He sat-out the away fixtures with Newcastle United and Preston North End.
Lee, a first-team regular under Carvalhal, has played 23 times this term.
His setback opens the door to Almen Abdi, who has struggled to make an impact since moving to Hillsborough last summer. Carvalhal has a plethora of options in central midfield, including Sam Hutchinson, Barry Bannan, David Jones, Jose Semedo and Filipe Melo.
However, the Portguese chief, speaking after their goalless draw with Wolves, refused to rule out the possibility of signing a new midfielder in the January transfer window.
“If someone has a problem, we must of course try to bring a player to cover the position,” he said.