Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has confirmed Wes Brown faces up to two months on the sidelines through injury.
Brown sustained a knee problem during last weekend's FA Cup fourth round draw against Middlesbrough.
O'Neill admits he feared the injury may have ended Brown's season, but the former Manchester United man is expected to be back in action in April.
"We don't think he needs the operation but you are looking at probably about eight weeks before he is back," said O'Neill.
"But, at one stage, it looked like a season-ending injury."
O'Neill also revaled David Vaughan could be out of action for several weeks after damaging ankle ligaments against Middlesbrough.
"David was feeling better today, but he is still very, very sore and the swelling is still up," added O'Neill.
"We are looking at a few weeks for him."