St Johnstone striker Collin Samuel is facing six weeks on the sidelines after undergoing a knee operation.
The Trinidad and Tobago international will be out of action until February following knee cartilage surgery.
Manager Derek McInnes has revealed he feared he could be without the influential forward for a longer spell due to the injury.
And he admitted that they were left with no option but to send the former Dundee United forward under the knife to resolve the problem which had been troubling him for some time.
McInnes told the Daily Record: "It's disappointing but on the plus side the news could have been much worse.
"The surgeon trimmed the piece that has been causing him pain in recent weeks so he'll be back to his best when he returns.
"Any time Sammy has been pain-free he has done very well and he has scored seven goals.
"But over the past month he has been troubled by the knee and it culminated in serious swelling after the Kilmarnock match.
"That's what prompted the surgery. We have important games coming up but it had to be addressed. We couldn't afford to mess about."