FORWARD Lee Mitchell is hoping to have ended his injury jinx at Hull Stingrays after undergoing surgery on his damaged right knee on Thursday.
The 23-year-old, from Kirkcaldy, is one of player-coach Sylvain Cloutier's key players, something made evident by the Canadian's decision to make Mitchell an alternate captain at the start of the season.
But the Great Britain international has only managed 13 games so far this season, due to the on-going problem with his right knee, which also saw him miss the start of last season.
Mitchell, who has posted two goals and five assists during his reduced time on the ice, had initially hoped to be back on the roster by early February to boost Hull's bid for a play-off spot, although it remains unclear how long it will actually take him to fully recover from yesterday's operation.
"I don't know how long it is going to keep me out," said Mitchell. "I have been told if it's a basic clean-up it will be between four-to-six weeks so I hope it's not worse than that.
"It's something I have to get done because I just could not continue playing with it any more. It was puffing up after every game and taking nearly a week for the swelling to go down.
"When I've got injuries they seem big ones which take a while to heal, so it's frustrating. Hopefully this will be the end of them now."
Mitchell will return home to Scotland during the early part of his recovery, leaving his Hull team-mates to cope with next week's deluge of fixtures which sees them face three games in three nights.
A trip to bottom club Newcastle on Bank Holiday Monday (5.00) is followed by a return match-up against the North East club in Hull on Tuesday night (7.00).
Third-bottom Dundee Stars, who have beaten Stingrays twice on home ice this season, pay their first visit to Hull Arena on Wednesday night (7.00).