Harry Redknapp has been handed a defensive headache with the news that Younes Kaboul requires an operation.
The Tottenham defender is nursing a knee injury and will be forced under the knife in order to make a full recovery.
Spurs boss Redknapp admits surgery is now the only available option and expects Kaboul to be sidelined for up to six weeks.
"Kaboul is having an operation on his knee," he said.
"I'm not sure how long he'll be out for. Maybe six weeks."
Should the Frenchman be out of action for that long, he will miss both legs of Spurs' UEFA Champions League last 16 clash with AC Milan.
That would hand Redknapp an unwelcome dilemma, with his options at the back already shorn.
Michael Dawson was sent off in Sunday's 4-0 FA Cup defeat to Fulham, and must now serve a suspension as a result, while William Gallas, Jonathan Woodgate and Ledley King continue to struggle with niggling knocks.
Bongani Khumalo was recently snapped up from South African side Supersport and is one option as cover, but he is lacking in Premier League experience and Redknapp would rather ease him into the fold.
Vedran Corluka is also capable of filling in at centre-half, but the situation facing Spurs is far from ideal.
"We are down to two central defenders," Redknapp added.
"William Gallas has a hip injury. I didn't want to play him today but he had to be on the bench because we didn't have any cover.
"He had to come on when we went down to 10 men. Otherwise I only have Sebastien Bassong if Dawson is going to be suspended for three games.
"Ledley King and Woodgate are not fit. We have one spare defender on our books in Corluka.
"There is no-one else in the back four."