Sunderland defender Titus Bramble's season could be over due to a knee injury, manager Steve Bruce has revealed.
The club announced ahead of Sunday's 5-0 hammering at Manchester City that the centre-back would miss the game after suffering cartilage damage.
It is not yet clear whether it is a recurrence of the problem that required surgery earlier in the season, but Bruce fears for 29-year-old Bramble.
Speaking after the defeat at Eastlands, Sunderland's manager said: "Bramble had an operation a few months ago and he has never felt quite comfortable.
"He had a scan the other day and he could miss the rest of the season.
"We've been told (he needs) complete rest at the moment."
Another knee injury victim, Fraizer Campbell, who has not made a first-team appearance for Sunderland since August, had been expected to feature in the squad to face City, but was also ruled out after suffering a late setback.
Bruce said: "Fraizer Campbell twisted his knee yesterday in training and he will have a scan.
"We are keeping our fingers crossed that it is not a recurrence of the knee injury that he had in August."