Manchester City will be without right-back Maicon for a month after the Brazil international underwent surgery on his knee.
Maicon, 31, has had an injury-hit first season at the Etihad Stadium and has only made three substitute appearances since missing almost two months with a knee problem.
And now the former Inter Milan man will be out until the end of March, leaving City short of cover for Pablo Zabaleta on the right side of their defence.
Micah Richards, who has been out since October with a knee injury, is still not ready to return, so Kolo Toure or James Milner may have to fill in if Zabaleta is sidelined.
Manager Roberto Mancini said: ''He [Maicon] has had surgery on his knee, but in a month he can recover. The operation was to clean his meniscus.''
Maicon has only played 11 games in all for City since his £3 million move from Inter on transfer deadline day in August.
Meanwhile, captain Vincent Kompany is reported to have suffered a setback in his bid to return in time from a calf problem for Monday's match at Aston Villa.