Hamburg star Rafael Van der Vaart could be out of action until the Bundesliga season resumes following its winter break after he tore a muscle during the 2-0 defeat to Fortuna Dusseldorf on Friday.
"The injury hurts more than the loss," the Netherlands star told kicker on Sunday after it had been confirmed that he faces at least three weeks out. Speaking after the game, he had said: "This does not feel good at all. I instantly had the feeling it was a muscle fibre."
With the pre-winter break section of the Bundesliga season coming to an end on December 15th, when Hamburg play at Leverkusen, Van der Vaart, who arrived from Tottenham at the end of the transfer window, is unlikely to return to action in 2012.
Hamburg boss Thorsten Fink admitted the absence of his star midfielder would be a big setback, saying: "We should not whinge. But we can't make up for Rafael."
But winger Maximilan Beister said: "If we want to grow as a team, we have to survive without Rafael," while defender Dennis Aogo stressed that it was "never good if a team relies on one player".
Friday brought further woe for Hamburg when sought-after South Korea international Heung-Min Son pulled a muscle. He will miss Tuesday's clash against Schalke, but could return at Wolfsburg on Sunday.