Tottenham captain Michael Dawson is set to be sidelined for at least two months due to an Achilles injury.
Dawson picked up the problem in training and played no part in Spurs' 2-0 victory away to Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday.
It is now understood that the defender will not be able to return to action until the middle of November at the earliest, meaning he will miss a crucial chunk of the season.
Dawson has become an integral figure in the back four at White Hart Lane under Harry Redknapp, establishing himself as an almost ever-present in the absence through injury of other players such as Jonathan Woodgate and Ledley King.
Redknapp must now reorganise his defence over the next couple of months as Tottenham contend with a Europa League campaign as well as their domestic demands.
With Woogate having been let go during the summer and Spurs missing out on a deal for Bolton's Gary Cahill, Redknapp is facing a selection headache.
William Gallas and Vedran Corluka also missed the clash with Wolves due to injury, although Ledley King made a welcome return to partner Younes Kaboul at the heart of defence.
Redknapp also has fitness concerns in other positions and has admitted he is down to the bare bones of his squad ahead of Thursday's trip to PAOK Salonika in the Europa League.