Zan Benedicic is likely to be out until the new year after undergoing knee surgery but the on-loan AC Milan midfielder will remain with Leeds United for the length of his deal.
Benedicic travelled to Belgium for an operation on the injury he suffered in September but his agent, Amir Ruznic, said the problem was minor and would not threaten an early end to his time at Elland Road.
Leeds signed Benedicic on a season-long loan from AC Milan in August but fitness problems have limited him to two first-team appearances and he was consigned to surgery by damage sustained around the time of Darko Milanic’s appointment as head coach.
Ruznic, who worked to negotiate Benedicic’s move to England from Milan, said the 19-year-old Slovenian had required treatment on the meniscus in one knee but claimed the impact of the operation was “not serious”.
Benedicic is currently abroad but should return to Leeds next week to begin a programme of rehabilitation. He is not expected to make his comeback until after the club’s Christmas schedule.
Ruznic told the YEP: “It’s not serious but I don’t know how long he’ll be out. I think he’ll be back in Leeds next week.”
United have an option to sign Benedicic permanently next summer but he is yet to start a first-team game and his only league appearance came in the 1-0 defeat of Bolton Wanderers in August.
He was previous used by former head coach David Hockaday in a League Cup win over Accrington Stanley but Hockaday voiced concerns about the midfielder’s match fitness and did not field him again.
Benedicic was subsequently unavailable throughout Milanic’s 32-day reign as boss.
Current head coach Neil Redfearn, whose side travel to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, said: “He’s been between surgeons for a while. It was important to make sure he got the right treatment.
“He’s had knee injuries before and he’s only young so he needed to get the right care. At the moment it’s hard to know when he’ll be fit again.”
Benedicic is one of Leeds’ few injury worries ahead of their visit to Ewood Park.
Aidan White and Lewis Walters are long-term absentees but centre-back Giuseppe Bellusci is available after serving a one-match ban.
Midfielder Rodolph Austin, however, is facing a late return to England after a run of appearance for Jamaica in the Caribbean Cup.
Jamaica won the final of that tournament on Tuesday night and Austin, who scored the decisive penalty in a shoot-out against Trinidad and Tobago, was named man-of-the-match.
Redfearn said: “We’re not expecting him home until tomorrow so I’m not sure what part he’ll play (at Blackburn).
“He was injured recently and he’s played a lot of football in a short period with Jamaica, on top of all the travelling. I’ll only know what shape he’s in once we get the chance to assess him.”