Dundee United captain Tam Scobbie is facing up to three months on the sidelines in what is a huge blow to player and club.
Scobbie damaged his groin during last week’s Betfred Cup defeat to Dundee at Dens Park and the diagnosis is a bad one.
A tendon has come off the bone and the former St Johnstone defender was left with a choice of having surgery or leaving it to heal itself.
He has chosen to avoid an operation and wait it out, meaning the season could be into November before he is fit to play again.
United boss Ray McKinnon said: “Tam will be out for six to 12 weeks.
“He could have had an operation but he is going to leave it to heal.
“I am gutted for him because he has been different class for us.
“But is a good pro and he will come back as quickly as possible.”
Meanwhile, McKinnon is to use tonight’s Irn-Bru Cup tie against Cowdenbeath at Tannadice to give a host of players much-needed match action.
He said: “There will be young players in the side but we will also have the likes of Paul Quinn, Patrick N’Koyi, Willo Flood, Paul Keatings, Scott Fraser and Deniz, who could all be doing with more game time.
“So it will be a mix of young players and others who need a runout.”
Paul McMullan, who was sent off during Saturday’s 2-1 home win over Queen of the South, will serve the first of his two-match suspension tonight before also sitting out the league game against Brechin City at the weekend.