Sebastian Larsson is expected to be fit in time to face England with Sweden in the European Championship in June, despite undergoing a hernia operation on Tuesday.
The Sunderland midfielder, who has scored seven goals this season following his free transfer from Birmingham last summer, has been carrying the injury for some time. He had proposed playing on until after the finals but instead underwent surgery at the start of the week.
"Seb has been playing with it for weeks and was prepared to play through it until the end of the season and through the Euros, but we think this is better for him," said the Sunderland manager, Martin O'Neill. "He deserves it after the work he's put in for us. It's a fairly routine operation these days and he should be back able to train within a few weeks."
Larsson's Sunderland team-mate Kieran Richardson also had a hernia operation on Tuesday. He will also miss the rest of the season. "They're both out for the rest of the campaign and obviously they'll be missed, but I think we've done the right thing," O'Neill added.
Larsson is a key player for his country and the race is now on to be fit for Sweden's opener against Ukraine on 11 June and then their second Group D match against England. The 26-year-old has played 39 times for Sweden, scoring five goals.
Another player out for the season is the Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam, who has a knee injury. "There is no operation needed but he won't play this season," said the Liverpool manager, Kenny Dalglish. "And I would think if they had any designs on having him in the Olympics he wouldn't be fit for that either."
The extent of Adam's injury, which he suffered against QPR last month, has taken some time to come to light. The 26-year-old, who has had a frustrating season since arriving from Blackpool for £6.75m last summer, was on crutches for Liverpool's FA Cup semi-final win over Everton at Wembley just under a fortnight ago but by last weekend was walking unaided.