Andrew Davies looks set to miss the remainder of the season after going under the knife.
The Southampton defender broke his cheekbone in the club's recent 2-2 draw with Blackpool and has been forced to undergo surgery in an effort to repair the damage.
The three fractures to the right side of his face have all been operated on, but another crack just above his eye socket has been left alone as any problems which may be encountered could damage his sight.
There is a possibility that Davies may be able to play in a protective mask before the season comes to a close, but the Saints' medical chiefs are unwilling to take any risks with the injury and are waiting on the opinion of the surgeon before any decision is taken.
Davies joined Southampton on loan from Middlesbrough in October, before making a permanent switch to St Mary's during the January transfer window.
He has been an integral part of the Saints' defensive unit this season, and with the club currently embroiled in a relegation battle his considerable presence at the back will be greatly missed.