Manager John Sheridan has admitted Plymouth Argyle defender Curtis Nelson has been ruled out for longer than expected by a groin injury.
Nelson, 19, has missed the last three matches and will not be part of the Pilgrims' squad for the away game against Northampton Town tomorrow.
It also looks likely Nelson will be sidelined for the relegation 'six-pointers' away to AFC Wimbledon and at home to Barnet next week.
The teenage prospect has not played for Argyle since their 0-0 draw with Accrington Stanley at Home Park on January 26.
In his absence, Guy Branston and Anthony Charles have been the Pilgrims' centre-back pairing.
Sheridan said: "Curtis has had a scan. He had a little niggle when he was doing some running and is going to be another 10 days to two weeks.
"It's going on a little bit longer than I thought it would but he knows his body. He has been working hard trying to get fit.
"He will know when he's right. There isn't a lot else you can do about that."
Goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin is also ten days away from a return to action after a hamstring strain, and forward Warren Feeney remains a long-term absentee with ankle ligament damage.
Striker Nick Chadwick completes a six-match suspension tomorrow and will be available for the visit to Wimbledon next Tuesday.
Chadwick has been banned since he was sent-off for violent conduct in the 4-0 defeat at Port Vale on January 5.
Sheridan said: "He has missed a few weeks of first team football and, unfortunately, he hasn't been able to play in any reserve games as well.
"He has trained every day with the lads so I don't think his fitness levels will be too bad but when you haven't played for a while in competitive football it just takes you a little while to get used to it.
"I'm sure he's champing at the bit because he has missed a lot of games."
With Feeney still out, and Sheridan reluctant to throw 17-year-old apprentice Tyler Harvey into the thick of a relegation fight, Reading striker Gozie Ugwu this week had his loan spell at Argyle extended for a second month.
Ugwu had to wait to make his debut for the Pilgrims because of an ankle injury which he suffered in training.
The 19-year-old was a late substitute in the 2-1 win at Aldershot Town before starting the 1-0 home defeat by Oxford United last Saturday.
Sheridan said: "He's young and he wants to play first team football. Unfortunately, he got an injury in the first week he was here and hasn't played too much.
"He's getting fitter now. He has trained for two weeks and the lad will want to try to prove his worth.
"He's pleased that I wanted to keep him and I'm hoping I have made the right decision.
"It doesn't mean automatically he's going to be playing, but I think we need that strength in depth."
Sheridan threatened to make changes to his team after Argyle's dreadful display against Oxford and is set to carry that out for the trip to Northampton.
He said: "There will be one or two different players, that's for sure.
"I just think it's important everyone is on their toes. Sometimes you are better taking someone out and giving them a little break.
"You can talk all day to them, but sometimes a little break is probably the best way and, hopefully, they respond in the right manner and then force their way back into the side. There are a few players who haven't been playing who think they should be playing so I will probably make one or two changes."