Barcelona announced Tuesday that defender Thomas Vermaelen underwent successful surgery on his right hamstring and is expected to be out the next four months.
Vermaelen originally injured his hamstring while playing for Belgium in this summer's FIFA World Cup. Acquired on a transfer from Arsenal in August, Vermaelen has yet to appear for Barcleona this season, though he had begun participating in training before the decision was made for him to have surgery.
The 29-year-old was Arsenal's captain and spent five seasons with the team but was limited by injury last season and lost his starting spot, leading him to seek a transfer. His eventual move to Barcelona came with a transfer fee of £15m ($25 million).
In his last full season, Vermaelen made 29 appearances for Arsenal in 2012-13. He spent the previous six seasons with Ajax.
Vermaelen has also made 47 career appearances for the Belgian national team.
Barcelona has 31 points in 13 games this season and is second on the La Liga table, two points behind Real Madrid. Barcelona plays Huesca in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday and hosts Espanyol in league play Sunday.
- Ben Estes