Newcastle manager Alan Pardew says veteran midfielder Alan Smith is likely to miss the rest of the season after his injury turned out to be worse than first thought.
Skysports.com reported earlier on Thursday that Smith was facing up to two months on the sidelines after damaging his ankle against Sunderland at the weekend.
However, the midfielder had a scan on the joint on Wednesday and complications from a previous injury mean his absence is likely to be far longer than first anticpated.
Pardew said: "It's sad news for Alan because it's an ankle he's had problems with and we think he'll probably be out for the rest of the season.
"Because he's had a dislocation and a break on that ankle before, when you get a heavy blow like he did it's a very low recovery rate."
Pardew is also likely to be without striker Andy Carroll for another two or three weeks while Dan Gosling has suffered a setback in his recovery from a serious knee injury.