Yohan Cabaye's groin problem may keep him out until January, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has revealed.
Cabaye is the latest in a long line of casualties and suspensions that Pardew is having to deal with.
Newcastle will be without Ryan Taylor and Haris Vuckic for the remainder of the campaign, and are currently missing a number of midfielders.
Jonas Gutierrez, Dan Gosling and James Perch are all on the treatment table after a series of injuries, and heavy suspensions for key men Fabricio Coloccini and Cheikh Tiote have left the Newcastle crippled in the middle of the park.
These absentees have affected results too as Newcastle are without a win from their four games in November, with back-to-back home defeats to West Ham and Swansea epitomising their current woes.
"It could be we run all the way to the end of January before I have my first team to pick from," Pardew told the Shields Gazette.
"When Cabaye comes back, Cheick will be gone. It is tough for us at the minute."
Pardew also confirmed Cabaye could require surgery, raising the possibility that his midfield orchestrator may miss the rest of the year.
"Cabaye might possibly have to have a little surgery on that groin. You have seasons when you lose players and you have to be able to cope with it," he said.
"If I had everybody available then losing Cabaye would not be such a blow. At the minute we cannot afford to lose anybody."
A former midfielder himself, Pardew feels fortune has not favoured his team this season, and says he needs his best players back in his "stretched" side as soon as possible.
"We have been unlucky this year," he said.
"We have lost Ryan Taylor and Haris Vuckic for more or less the season. One is bad and to lose two is tough to take and we have had suspensions.
"I can only think of one occasion when I have had everyone to pick and that was at Sunderland when I had all my senior players. I know that is what we need to do. We need our best players back.
"We are stretched this week and we have two big games and really that squad is only going to be added to by Jonas Gutierrez."