Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott will be out for four to six weeks with a hamstring tendon injury that could hamper his England World Cup hopes.
The 27-year-old, who signed for City from Everton for £22m in August 2009, felt a twinge while warming up before the 2-1 win at Fulham on Sunday.
City have nine Premier League games left and Lescott had hoped to earn a place in England's squad this summer.
It was hoped that a scan may show only minor damage, but it is confirmation that Lescott is out as long as first feared.
The timing is particularly disappointing given it may have been possible that Roberto Mancini had earmarked him as Wayne Bridge's replacement, given we are covered in the centre of defence with Toure, Onouha, Boyata and Richards able to step in, but at left back there is less depth and his inclusion on the left at Fulham perhaps an indication of the lack of faith Mancini has in the likes of Garrido or Sylvinho.
Gareth Barry is of course an option, but I don't see him being moved from midfield where he was been a virtual ever present this season.
It is bad timing Lescott too with regards his international hopes. After missing a chunk of the season he has come back into the team and although a player on the fringes (with Capello seemingly preferring Matthew Upson) he has played at a level that suggested he would likely earn inclusion.
An absence of 4-6 weeks will see him return at the end of April, possibly only in time for the remaining three games in May. Given the form of others, and likely importance of the last three fixtures, it may not be a time for throwing in a player making his way back in from injury so it is not inconceivable to think Lescott could be done for the season.
Bad news all round.