Birmingham City defender David Murphy has suffered a setback on his return from injury and may require surgery.
The Blues full-back is trying to recover from a broken knee-cap suffered earlier in the year against Watford in a Championship game, and has already been sidelined for seven months.
The 25-year-old will now be re-assessed by medical experts to determine whether he has to undergo another operation.
"We are disappointed at the lack of progress by David," said Birmingham boss Alex McLeish. "He was coming back - and looking good - but he has had another little setback.
"We are going to have to get him re-assessed for the lad's sake as well as anything else.
"He is really, really desperate to get back playing again. He is such a good professional and seven months out is a long time.
"Will he need more surgery? I don't know. He has got pins in his knees and, if these have to be taken out, then it will require a bit of that (surgery).
"It is a shame for David because he is really down at the moment and we are doing what we can to keep his morale up."
McLeish has told Murphy to take advice from Blues midfielder Barry Ferguson, as the former Scotland international suffered a similar blow on his comeback from injury while playing for Blackburn.
"Barry Ferguson was out for a similar time with a busted knee-cap at Blackburn and, if David wants a shoulder to lean on, he can talk to Fergy and hear of his experiences," he added.
"We'll also maybe find out what Barry did in his rehab in dealing with his injury."
Murphy's on-loan team-mate Teemu Tainio is also suffering from a persistent knee problem and McLeish confirmed that he will be out for the foreseeable future.
"We knew he had a bit of a problematic knee before he came but we thought we could manage it," he said.
"Unfortunately he's been missing more than he's been available and I think he might need to be tidied up.
"He's going to be out for the immediate future."