Australian netball captain Natalie von Bertouch requires surgery on a foot injury that has sidelined her since leading the team to the world title in July.
But the good news is that she should be fit to play with the Adelaide Thunderbirds by the start of the 2012 trans-Tasman championships.
The 28-year-old, who took over as Diamonds skipper after a serious injury to Sharelle McMahon, missed Australia's six Tests since the Singapore title, includingthe final match late last month when they regained the world No.1 ranking with a series win over New Zealand.
Von Bertouch, who has had her foot in a moon-boot for the past eight weeks, will undergo surgery on Monday with a specialist confirming she needed a Sesamoid-ectamy; an operation to permanently remove one of the two Sesamoid bones in her right foot.
"I will have to wear a foot brace and I won't be able to walk or drive for at least two weeks but I should be able to start exercising again after that with most things like swimming and cycling but no running," von Bertouch explained.
"Then three months after surgery I should be able to start running and training with the team and by four months I can expect to be doing everything as I would like to be doing them (to my normal standard).
The issue initially flared in February but she carried the injury through the trans-Tasman competition to ensure she took part in Australia's triumphant world title defence.
Von Bertouch was optimistic she would fully heal in time to lead the Thunderbirds in the season opener of the ANZ Championships against NSW Swifts in Adelaide on March 31.
"I think the hardest thing will be no running but I will be doing everything I can to keep fit and keep training with the team, it just depends how long the tendons take to heal after they've been re-joined," she said.