Middlesbrough have suffered a huge blow with the news that Emanuel Pogatetz may require knee surgery.
The popular Austrian defender picked up the problem during Boro's pre-season tour of his homeland.
It was initially only seen as a minor problem, but manager Gareth Southgate has now admitted that Pogatetz may need to go under the knife.
"We sent Manny for scans and he went to see a specialist," said Southgate.
"It doesn't look good. Surgery is something we might have to consider. Obviously we have to make a quick decision."
The news adds to a growing injury list for Boro, which unfortunately for Southgate seems to be dominated by defenders.
Jonathan Woodgate and Roberth Huth both look highly unlikely to make the start of the season and youngster Matthew Bates has recently seriously damaged his knee.
Chris Riggott is also struggling with a foot injury, which leaves Andrew Davies and David Wheater as the only options left available to Southgate.
At best it now seems Southgate will have just Davies, Wheater and possibly Riggott available for the opening game of the Premier League season against Blackburn.
"I have learned not to worry about injuries. They are part and parcel of the game," added Southgate.
"Whenever players are injured, it gives an opportunity to other members of the squad. That's what the squad is there for.
"Nothing has changed in that we have a squad which is building up nicely, looking forward to the start of the season and the challenge of trying to take the club forward."