Anthony Gardner is expected to miss Hull City's next two games before being ready to make his comeback.
The defender has made just three appearances since joining City from Tottenham and has been sidelined since mid-September with a thigh injury.
He had originally been pencilled in to return to Phil Brown's plans for this weekend's Premier League game at home to Middlesbrough.
But he will miss Saturday's fixture, and the trip to Liverpool the following weekend, with the 20th December meeting with Sunderland likely to see Gardner's first-team return.
"Anthony Gardner is making good strides, but you're looking at a couple of months now that he's been out," Brown told the Hull Daily Mail.
"He'll need a match or two either behind closed doors or in the reserves - that's the same for Craig Fagan.
"I can't be looking at putting him straight into the first team for Middlesbrough or probably even Liverpool."
Tigers striker Craig Fagan could also be involved in the coming weeks as he nears full fitness after breaking his leg against Newcastle on 13th September.
Brown added: "Come Christmas, it could be two presents waiting for me because they will feel like new players.
"Craig's now back on the training ground with the physio, but he's not had any physical contact. If we can get a full week out of him this week, maybe we could see him on the training ground next week.
"Knowing Craig, he'll be looking at Sunderland which is great news for me. He looks very fit and he was born an athlete, but match fitness is a different thing."