Fulham manager Martin Jol says Mahamadou Diarra could be ruled out for the majority of the season with a knee injury, leaving the English Premier League team potentially short of options in central midfield.
Diarra was hurt while on international duty with Mali this month and requires surgery.
Jol says "there is a little piece of cartilage floating in his knee ... if there is damage to his cruciate ligament then it will take a lot longer — three, four, five months at least."
Fulham sold three central midfielders — Mousa Dembele, Danny Murphy and Dickson Etuhu — in the offseason and also released attacking midfielder Clint Dempsey to Tottenham on transfer deadline day in August.
Jol has Steve Sidwell and recent free-transfer signing Giorgos Karagounis as other options in central midfield.