Hartlepool forward Luke James will be on the sidelines for six weeks after undergoing a double hernia operation.
The 17-year-old, who has made seven appearances for Pools this season, detected the problem during a reserve game earlier this month and it became clear that surgery was needed.
Physio Ian Gallagher told the Hartlepool Mail: "Luke spoke to the specialist who put him on a two-week strengthening programme in the hope we could do without the operation.
"But when things didn't clear up, surgery became the only option unfortunately so we got him in to hospital as soon as we could.
"He won't be able to do a great deal of exercise for the next couple of weeks but overall it's usually a six-week rehabilitation programme so we hope to see him back by mid-December."