Billy Paynter's season is over after having surgery on a long-standing Achilles problem.
Hartlepool United's captain has been troubled by the injury for some time and went through a course of injections to see if an operation could be avoided and he could return before the end of the League Two programme.
The injections have not proven a success and Pools have announced the 32-year-old has gone under the knife.
Head physio Ian Gallagher told the club website: "We wanted to give Billy the best chance of getting back this season which is why we went down the route of injections.
“Billy wanted to do everything to get back but it’s now got to the stage where the right thing to do is have the operation and make sure he’s fit and ready for go for the start of pre-season.”
Paynter started the season with a bang, scoring in the opening two fixtures, including the winner at Exeter.
But while the Scouser has played 26 times in total, he has been restricted by injury and has not featured under new boss Dave JOnes.
He had hoped to play in the opening match of the manager's reign, at home to Stevenage, but reported unfit and has been sidelined ever since.
Paynter, an inspired summer 2015 capture from Carlisle United by then boss Ronnie Moore, missed three months of last season, also with Achilles trouble, but he still finished the campaign as the leading scorer with 15 goals.
He has netted four this terms, including the final goal in the 3-0 FA Cup win over Stamford and the second goal in the 3-2 victory against Morecambe, Craig Hignett's final win as Pools boss