Jerome Boateng is to undergo knee surgery and may not be back until the final two games of the season.
Manchester City have confirmed that the full-back requires an operation to repair cartilage he damaged while away on international duty with Germany.
The full extent of the problem has become apparant since he returned to Eastlands, and City are keen for the issue to be addressed as soon as possible.
Manager Roberto Maninci concedes that they have little choice in the matter, even if going under the knife is likely to rule Boateng out for the best part of two months.
He said: "He will have surgery in the next two or three days. Maybe he will be fit for the last two games."
City have also been rocked by a recent injury to Micah Richards, picked up while turning out for the England U21s in a friendly against Denmark.
A hamstring problem was expected to keep the versatile defender sidelined for the foreseeable future, with it doubtful that he would make an eagerly-anticipated FA Cup semi-final meeting with arch-rivals Manchester United.
Mancini, though, believes there is still an outside chance that Richards could make the trip to Wembley on 16th April.
He added: "We are trying to get him fit for the semi-final. I don't know if it is possible, but we hope."