Swansea City could be without Joel Latibeaudiere for more than four months with a shoulder injury, according to head coach Russell Martin.
The former Manchester City defender was stretchered off after dislocating his shoulder against Millwall on Tuesday.
“He was in agony,” said Martin.
“I’m so sad for him. He’s one of the best, Joel. One of the best pros, best lads, his mentality and focus every day and as a team-mate, the amount of value he adds. I’m really gutted for him.”
Martin added: “Three to four months [out], maybe a bit longer, we’ll see with the scan next week when the swelling goes down.”
Latibeaudiere had come close to scoring as Swansea took an early 2-0 lead in a game which eventually finished 2-2, with the Welsh club conceding two own-goals in stoppage time.
The 22-year-old right-sided defender was carried off after 20 minutes, following a collision with Millwall defender Murray Wallace.
“It looks like an unnecessary challenge really,” said Martin.
“It’s tough to take. He’s come back in such good shape, he’s in the best shape we’ve seen him in. His performances in pre-season and since the start of the season in any position have been outstanding.
“He was high as a kite on drugs the other night! The first thing he did was ring Gilly [Assistant head coach Matthew Gill] to say he should have scored that chance. The fact we drew the game, he couldn’t believe it. He thought that was the drugs talking!
“He’ll be so important around this place. We’ll have a chat about that in the next couple of weeks. We’ll make sure he’s fine.”
Latibeaudiere’s absence leaves Swansea short at right wing back, a position that Martin is hoping to fill following talks with the club’s American owners:
“We’ll continue to talk about that and hopefully have more clarity in the next day or two. We needed a couple of players before that happened and it doesn’t change my opinion on that. It makes it more important to do it quicker.
“We have a list of players but it’s getting shorter. We’ll have to wait and see and that’ll involve discussions with Josh [Head of football operations Josh Marsh] and Julian [Chief Executive Julian Winter] and the ownership”.