AUSTRALIA international Richard Garcia's hopes of winning a new deal with Hull City have been dealt a major blow after knee surgery revealed he could miss the rest of 2011.
The 29-year-old Socceroo's current deal at the KC Stadium is due to expire in July although he was offered a new deal by the Tigers in February which he opted to contemplate until the European summer.
But Perth-born Garcia has since struggled to overcome a troublesome knee injury which saw him twice limp out of league games late in the Championship season.
The Tigers have promised to fully support the Australian for the rest of his contract but there's no long-term guarantees after surgery revealed a near worst-case scenario of six to nine months out.
Hull's head of football operations Adam Pearson told the Hull Daily Mail they'd review the situation when Garcia's contract expires in late July.
"Richard's had an operation on his knee and unfortunately it's his cruciate ligament," Pearson said.
"Obviously, this football club has a duty of care up to the end of his contract and from that period onwards we'll just review it on a month by month basis.
"We're going to be looking after Richard as much as we can. Being out of contract, it couldn't have come at a worse time for him and he's obviously disappointed.
"We've got a responsibility and we'll be looking after him through the period until his contract ends on July 30 and review it then."
Earlier this month Hull boss Nigel Pearson had praised Garcia for his selfless attitude but more recently admitted his future was unclear due to the knee injury.