Newcastle United utility man Ryan Taylor could be sidelined for up to three months with an ankle ligament injury suffered in training.
Taylor, who can play at either right-back or on the right side of midfield, is believed to have been injured last week in a challenge with former England defender Sol Campbell.
The Magpies have now confirmed that the 26-year-old will be out for "10 to 12 weeks", meaning he will now miss the whole of the club's busy Christmas period.
However, Taylor was only on the periphery of manager Chris Hughton's first team having made just four appearances to date this season, with his only three starts all coming in Carling Cup action.
Despite Taylor's lack of regular football, Hughton has bemoaned the loss of his services to injury.
"It's very disappointing to lose Ryan for this period of time," he admitted.
"Although he hasn't played as much football as he would have liked, he has been a very valuable member of our squad this season."
Newcastle travel to Bolton this weekend seeking to end their two-game winless run after following up their 2-1 St James' Park defeat to Blackburn last week with a goalless draw at home to Fulham.