KI SUNG-YUENG might have kicked his last ball for Sunderland.
The South Korean international midfielder has missed the Black Cats’ last three games with tendonitis of the knee.
And head coach Gus Poyet fears the problem could well rule the skilful midfielder out of the remainder of Sunderland’s season.
“Ki has been to see a specialist in London who has confirmed that it is tendonitis of the knee and needs to be treated carefully,” Poyet told the Echo.
“It’s not something that has come on suddenly, he has had a problem with it for a while.
“He had been playing through it but it slowly got worse and now I really don’t know if it will be possible for him to play again for us.
“We will hope for the best and we will see.”
The 25-year-old has spent the whole of the 2013-14 season on loan at the Stadium of Light from Swansea City.
And although he would have been unable to play in the final game of the season, against his parent club on Sunday, May 11, he will still be disappointed if he is unable to play his part in the climax to Sunderland’s campaign after being a fixture in the side for most of the season.
He has played in 37 games in all competitions for Sunderland this season - including a Capital One Cup final appearance which was his second in succession, after helping Swansea overwhelm Bradford City 5-0 at Wembley the previous season.
His goals for Sunderland came in the 2-1 Capital One Cup win over Chelsea, the 1-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park and the 4-1 thrashing of Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Poyet said: “We have to be careful with him.
“If it was a more straightforward injury like an ankle for example we might take a risk, have an injection or whatever.
“But when it is muscle tissue like the tendons you are always wary.
“So we will leave it to him. If he feels ready at any stage, we will involve him.”