Sunderland defender John Mensah looks set to be sidelined for at least another three weeks after a reported tear in his groin muscle was confirmed.
The Ghana international was injured in the Black Cats' 3-2 defeat to West Brom on Saturday, coming off after just 11 minutes at the Stadium of Light.
The injury-prone centre-back had put together a run of seven starts prior to that, but the on-loan Lyon player has once again fell foul to injury.
It has come at an unfortunate time for Sunderland, who are currently ravaged by absentees and sliding towards a relegation fight should their poor run of results continue.
Mensah, who has been one of their key figures when fit, may also suffer by not being given a permanent deal on Wearside after almost two seasons there on a temporary basis.
Kieran Richardson and Anton Ferdinand also limped out of the game on Saturday, with manager Steve Bruce now facing a real dilemma over who to select ahead of their game at relegation-battling Birmingham.
With Titus Bramble still sidelined, Bruce may be forced to employ right-back Nedum Onuoha in a centre-back role alongside Michael Turner, who is only two games into first-team action after a lengthy lay-off.