Burton boss Paul Peschisolido is unable to put a timescale on Greg Pearson's recovery from a toe injury.
Striker Pearson incurred the problem in training and has managed to play just 13 minutes this season as a second-half substitute against Torquay on the opening day of the campaign.
Peschisolido fears the 26-year-old could miss the majority of the season.
"It is a far more serious injury than people imagine. I don't want to dispirit Greg, but I was out for nine months with the same problem," Peschisolido told the Burton Mail. "A toe injury might sound minor but in my case it was the worst injury of my career - an absolute nightmare - and I know exactly what Greg is going through.
"He is still in a lot of pain and obviously can't train, so I can't even guess when he is going to be playing again. I did my own research when I had the injury and discovered it is a condition called 'turf toe'. It is common in American football but is perhaps not as well known over here.
"The toe becomes painful, inflamed and very swollen because of damage caused to the tendons and joint. Unfortunately, there is no miracle cure and Greg is just going to have to be patient for a while longer yet."