Arsenal have had their worst fears confirmed with the news that Alexander Hleb has been ruled out for 'a good four weeks', having been forced off in Wednesday night's 2-2 Carling Cup stalemate at Tottenham.
The talented Belarus international only came on to the field in the second half at White Hart Lane, to help his side back from a two-goal deficit, but an impressive night's work was ruined when he was replaced with nine minutes remaining courtesy of a hamstring complaint.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits the injury could not have occurred at a worse time, with his mood unlikely to be lightened by the fact both Emmanuel Eboue (ankle) and Jeremie Aliadiere (back) picked up knocks.
Neither injury is thought to be serious but both could be unavailable for Sunday's FA Cup game with bogey side Bolton.
"I think he will be out longer than I thought last night," Wenger told the club's official website. "It will be a good four weeks.
"That is the disappointing side of last night. It puts our performance into perspective. You don't want to lose players in January because, if you lose them for a long time, then their season can be over.
"We also lost Jeremie but that is a question of days. I think he will be able to play on Wednesday. Also Eboue has done his ankle again. That is only minor too and I hope he'll be fit for Sunday but if not Wednesday."
Wenger continued to reveal that Robin van Persie's broken metatarsal could also see him miss longer than originally had been anticipated, with the Frenchman braced to be without his striker for the next ten weeks.
"Ideally you would say six to eight weeks but as well it could be 10," he conceded.
"That means April and you are close to the end of the season and you'll need to get back to your best level. I hope it will be six weeks but that is really optimistic."