Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert is braced for bad news over the future of Lucas Pantelis.
The 30-year-old made the move to the Phoenix from Adelaide United on a two-year deal last season, but missed the whole A-League season after rupturing his left knee in pre-season.
An infection in the injury and the possibility of further surgery means there is a very real chance the player may not play this season either.
"There is a chance (we might not see him)," Herbert said.
"Medically they are wanting to make sure they do everything right and make the right evaluation for him, but he's probably not looking healthy at this stage.
"The risk of it now is probably huge as far as breaking down and doing something to it again as opposed to not.
"In fairness to a player whose career is not finished yet, you want to give him the length of time to hopefully get the right outcome. But who knows. He's not flash at the moment."
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