Fulham manager Martin Jol has revealed that Mahamadou Diarra could spend the majority of the season sidelined after picking up an injury on international duty.
Diarra, 31, made a return to international action with Mali earlier this month after more than a year in wilderness.
However, the midfielder injured his left knee, forcing him to sit out of Fulham's 3-0 win over West Brom on Saturday.
And Jol has said that the former Real Madrid man, who will require some form of surgery, may have damaged his cruciate ligament.
"There's a little piece of cartilage floating in his knee, so we have to operate that in any case, and that can be three or four weeks," he said.
"But if there is damage to his cruciate ligament, for example, it will take a lot longer. It will take him three, four, five months at least.''
Fulham will learn the true extent of the damage next week.
Diarra joined Fulham in February on a free transfer and has made three appearances for the club this season.