Sunderland's Lee Cattermole set for four months out following hip surgery

Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole will be out for at least four months after undergoing hip surgery in the U.S., manager David Moyes has said.

The news came as a significant blow to Moyes, who has been without one of the club's most consistent performers in recent seasons for much of his reign on Wearside.

The setback arrived after a lengthy treatment process which eventually got to the root of the problem.

Moyes said: "It's a big blow because we have had hernias, we have had epidurals, we have had other things done but, by all accounts, we have found a tear in his cartilage in his hip which has now been repaired."

Cattermole, who joined the Black Cats in a £6 million switch from Wigan during the summer of 2009, has been a key figure in the club's successful survival fights over the last four years.

But he was last able to take to the field for the 3-2 Premier League defeat by Crystal Palace on Sept. 24.