Southampton midfielder Lee Holmes is facing up to two months on the sidelines with a knee injury.
The 21-year-old winger has made a positive start with the Saints after arriving from Derby this summer, scoring two goals in seven games so far this season.
But Holmes suffered medial ligament damage in Sunday's defeat at QPR and had a scan on his knee on Monday.
"As soon as it happened I felt something go," he told the club's official website. "I tried to put weight on it but knew I would have to go off.
"Hopefully I won't need a further operation. I have been out before when I was at Derby with an ankle problem but this time I should be back fairly soon."
Holmes is set to miss the Carling Cup third-round tie at Rotherham and could be out for as many as 12 league games.
"Things have been going really well for me since I signed here so it's gutting to have to miss out such a crucial time of the season," he added.
"We have a lot of games coming up in quick succession so we need as many people to be available as possible. I guess I was just unlucky."