The 23-year-old forward, who fired the Mariners to promotion last season and won himself a move to Championship outfit Luton Town earlier this week, could be set for a long spell on the sidelines after sustaining a shoulder injury in Grimsby’s opening-day defeat to Leyton Orient.
“I think that’s going to be probably a no, so we maybe for the first time have to plan without him,” said Paul Hurst when asked about McAtee’s availability for this weekend. “He's seeing a specialist, that's not happened yet, but once he does, that will determine whether he does need surgery or not.
"I think we've all got to brace ourselves that that's a possibility, but at the same time there's no point getting too far ahead until we’ve had that confirmed. The specialist will inform us of that, there is a possibility of him having it previous, it's now happened again since.
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"I'm certainly not a specialist or a surgeon, but just common sense is going to suggest, it's not going to have got better, so that's the fear in one sense, but we’ll find out soon. It would be months, so that’s not ideal for anyone.
“For Luton, Luton wanted him to play games, that was part of the reason in agreeing for him to come back on loan. But again, respectfully, he’s not the first player to have an operation or need one and it’s certainly one he should be able to come back with no problems.
"It’s not like maybe when players have knee operations or things like that, you’re never quite sure how they’re going to recover.”