Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini could be out for several weeks after breaking two bones in his back.
The 31-year-old suffered the injury during the club's 4-2 win over Southampton on February 24th after landing awkwardly when making an overhead clearance.
Coloccini has been allowed to return to his native Argentina for a week to work with his national association's medical team. Magpies boss Alan Pardew said the player could be out for some time.
He said: "Colo has gone back to Argentina. There's no treatment he can have - he's broken two of the bones in his back.
"We think it's going to be anything between three and seven weeks. He's gone back for a week."
It's believed Coloccini asked to leave St James' Park during the January transfer window for personal reasons, although the request was turned down.