Hull City have confirmed that £5 million record signing Jimmy Bullard will be out for the rest of the season, having barely played 35-minutes since signing in January.
The central midfielder arrived from Fulham during the winter transfer window, making his debut against West Ham by coming on as a 53rd minute substitute for Geovanni.
However, Bullard sustained a knee injury in the Tigers's 2-0 defeat at Upton Park. And while initial scans revealed he had 'only' suffered a tear in his cartilage, further tests have found more serious damage to his anterior cruciate ligament.
The news is a bitter blow to the likeable former Wigan and Peterborough man, who missed 18 months with a similar injury sustained in a challenge with Newcastle's Scott Parker early on in his Cottagers career in September 2006. "Jimmy Bullard underwent a procedure last night [Wednesday] in America to repair a torn cartilage," read a statement on Hull's official website. "Whilst performing the arthroscopy, the surgeon noticed fresh damage to his anterior cruciate ligament. In the best interests of both the player and Hull City Football Club it was decided to undertake a reconstruction of the damaged ligament which means that Jimmy will be unavailable for the remainder of this season. "The club wishes Jimmy a speedy recovery and look forward to his return in a Tigers shirt as soon as possible."