Cape Town - Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson does not expect Christian Benteke to make his comeback from a troublesome knee injury before the New Year.
The Belgium international underwent minor arthroscopic explorative surgery on Wednesday to rectify the long-standing problem, which has limited him to just four appearances in the opening three months of the new campaign.
The Eagles anticipated Benteke "to return to training very soon", but Hodgson doubts he'll be able to utilise the 27-year-old striker for the remainder of 2018.
"Christian Benteke was operated on yesterday. We tried the conservative route to put an end to his knee problem, which he has suffered with for a while," the 71-year-old told Sky Sports.
"That didn't work out. There was always the risk that if it didn't work out an operation would be necessary, and I got the bad news that the operation was necessary, had taken place and now he will be out for a long period of time.
"It's an operation and normally operations take time. It is dangerous for people like myself to start saying 'it will be this amount of time' because you fall foul of the doctors and the sport scientists who have a different view.
"But there's no doubt we won't be seeing much of him this year. I think it will take until into 2019 before we see him, but hopefully earlier than later in 2019."
Benteke has already missed four games for Palace, who have struggled for goals in the Premier League this season, scoring just five times in eight matches.