Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale is hopeful that Alan Gow will play again this season, but the gifted Scot faces a prolonged spell on the sidelines after an ankle injury was deemed worse than first thought.
The talented attacker was injured during a training game for the Grecians against Reading last Tuesday, but it was hoped he would be fit for tonight's npower League Two clash with Accrington Stanley.
That will not be the case and Tisdale said he was unsure just when the 30-year-old would return to action.
"It seems a lot more serious than we first thought and he faces a considerable time out," Tisdale said. "We are not sure when he will return.
"It could be either weeks or months. It is a considerable injury and we are still going through the process of seeing how the ankle reacts to certain treatment. We are trying to get the swelling down and trying to get it to function.
"It is not like a broken bone where you can predict healing times, it is a little bit more involved.
"It is very disappointing, notably for him, but I can't give you a definitive as to how long he will be out for. We are hoping he will be fit to play again this season at some time, but I can't tell you when."
Gow's absence is a huge blow to City's promotion hopes, with games coming thick and fast between now and the end of the season. However, Tisdale has backed the likes of Guillem Bauza and Jimmy Keohane to fill the void made by Gow's absence.
"It something we will have to put up with, but players will get their chance," Tisdale said. "Jimmy Keohane had his chance this season through injury and I now regard him as a first-team player. Hopefully that will happen with another player or two."