Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp fears Tom Huddlestone will miss his side's push for domestic and European honours this season.
Midfielder anchorman Huddlestone has suffered a serious setback in his attempts to return from the long standing ankle injury which has sidelined him since November.
And, with vital Premier League and UEFA Champions League matches looming for Spurs, Redknapp conceded he may be forced to drop the 24-year-old from his 25-man squad.
He said: "Tom's had a setback and it seems he's going to be longer than we expected.
"His ankle is sore. He tried to do a bit of running and is still a long way away.
"We will have to look at his situation with regard to the 25 man squad.
"I am hoping he'll be OK as he is important to us and is a fantastic player.
"We need him but we will have to make sure how it goes and discuss it with the medical people."
Despite the blow Redknapp insists he will not be entering the transfer market to strengthen his midfield.
Redknapp said: "We won't get a new player. Where do you go to find a new player?
"It's very hard. This window is about panic buying."