Watford defender Martin Taylor is facing a number of weeks on the sidelines after suffering a collarbone injury against Crystal Palace.
The 31-year-old left the pitch aided by the Hornets' head of medical Dave Hart during the second half of the 2-0 defeat by the Eagles at Vicarage Road.
The towering centre-half has been a near ever-present since his January 2010 move from Birmingham City and last season saw Taylor start every Championship game for the Hornets.
Manager Sean Dyche admitted they would now be without one of their key men for a stint, although they were still waiting to fully assess the injury.
He told the club's official website: "Unfortunately we are talking about weeks not days out for Martin, although it is hard to give an exact timescale at the moment.
"He has been a big part of the last few seasons since he joined the club.
"Unfortunately injuries are the reality of football and they can strike at any time. It was a freak one in the way it happened, that's for sure."