David Silva will miss Manchester City's crucial Champions League game against Ajax on Tuesday.
Silva could return from his hamstring injury to figure against Tottenham next Sunday but manager Roberto Mancini said he is only likely to be a substitute then.
The Spaniard was hurt playing for his national team against France in the World Cup qualifier on October 16, and Mancini believes the former Valencia player's international appearances account for his recent injury problems.
The Italian said: "He could be ready for Tottenham, maybe to play half an hour. The problem for Silva is that for three years he has played every three days, and when he should take a rest for three or four days he goes with the national team to Panama or Venezuela. Some players need to rest. It's impossible to play and to travel all the time."
Mancini praised Mario Balotelli for his contribution as a substitute in last Saturday's 1-0 win over Swansea but warned his compatriot that he needs to chip in with more goals.
The 22-year-old has not scored in the Premier League since March and one of his two goals this season came from the penalty spot.
Mancini added: "Mario is a striker, I want him to start to score. He did well last week. I hope now when he starts to play he can start to score."