Everton have been hit by the news midfielder Tim Cahill will be out of action for a minimum of six weeks.
However, the fear is that Cahill could be out for much longer, with suggestions of two to three months a possibility.
Results of a scan today, taken after Cahill was carried off during Saturday's defeat to Aston Villa after an accidental clash with team-mate Lee Carsley, have produced grim findings for boss David Moyes.
Everton have not officially confirmed the full extent of Cahill's injury yet, but it is believed that although he does not have a cruciate knee problem, it could well be medial damage and that six weeks on the sidelines is a minimum prognosis.
Such is Cahill's importance to Everton, this length of time out of action could have a serious effect on their attempts to get back into Europe.
Moyes already has a growing problem of seeing his side win just one of their last eight league games, and now any recovery will have to be mounted without Cahill.