Brendan Moloney's loan deal at Scunthorpe has been cut short by a medial knee ligament injury.
The 21-year-old defender joined the Iron at the end of January in an agreement which was set to run until the end of the season.
However, the youngster picked up a nasty injury midway through Scunthorpe's 2-0 defeat to West Brom in midweek and is now facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
As a result, the Republic of Ireland U21 international has been returned to parent club Nottingham Forest for treatment.
"Brendan has gone back to Nottingham Forest and he is going to have a scan on Friday," Iron boss Nigel Adkins told the club's official website.
"He's opened up his medial ligament. It is a serious injury that we're looking at.
"The early reports are that he could potentially be out for the rest of the season.
"We'll assess it from Friday once he's had the scan.
"He will be back in the care of Nottingham Forest for the foreseeable future.
"I feel for him because I think he's got a great future in front of him."