Manchester City centre-half Joleon Lescott is facing up to six weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
The England international suffered a partial tear of the tendon during the warm-up for Sunday's trip to Fulham.
He was immediately withdrawn from the squad, with Roberto Mancini admitting afterwards that the outlook for the defender did not look good.
City have now confirmed that the injury is likely to keep Lescott out of action for the foreseeable future - possibly until the final few games of the season.
"Joleon Lescott is facing a lay-off of between four and six weeks following a full analysis of the hamstring injury he picked up last weekend," read a statement released on the club's official website.
"The news is a big blow to City with nine games of the season left. England have been informed of the situation.
"The injury, a partial tear of the hamstring tendon at its origin close to the pubic bone, forced Joleon to drop out of last Sunday's game at Fulham at the last minute.
"He had originally been selected at left-back to replace Wayne Bridge, out for a month after a hernia operation, and the injury will stretch Roberto Mancini's defensive options even further.
"The 27-year-old, signed from Everton last summer, had already missed 12 games after having an operation to remove a piece of floating bone in his knee in December.
"After having his new injury scanned on Monday, Joleon has had an injection and undergone ultrasound treatment as he starts the recovery process, with the hope being that he can play some part in the closing stages of the season."