Rotherham United manager Paul Warne fears he could lose striker Kyle Vassell for a number of weeks if he needs groin surgery.
The Northern Ireland international has been unable to shake off the problem which has restricted him to just three substitute appearances since November.
Warne was hoping that some injections and rehabilitation would do the trick, but he has been unable to recapture that zip that made him a threat to the Millers at the start of the season.
A decision is expected to be made on whether he will go under the knife in the next few days, but he will not be involved against Wigan at the weekend.
“Kyle Vassell is struggling, I am little bit worried about him, which way that is going to go, I don't think he will be available for this weekend,” Warne said.
“He did well when he came on against Leeds a couple of weeks ago, he came on at Millwall and I don't think he was moving as well, and then he played for the reserves this week and he didn't look comfortable, he was sore.
“I appreciate he is going through a bit of a pain barrier but I just don't know if he has got to a stage where the pain is unmanageable and he needs to take a step back and take a look at a different course of action, which might mean him out for five or six weeks which would be a big blow, but that is how football is.”
Warne, who has a close bond with all of his side, admits finding it tough to see Vassell nurse his way back to fitness.
“I find it really difficult, I think the world of all my players,” he added. “He is going to train on Friday and see where we're at.
“He wants to help the team out and the club so he doesn't necessarily want to go under the knife but when I watch him run he looks in pain and from a paternal point of view I find it difficult because he can't do what he wants to do, so it's a tough one and we will come to a decision over the next few days.
“We can't top him up with extra work to get him sharper because his groin flares up. Regrettably I think it will go down the intervention route.”
There is better news with Ben Wiles returning to training alongside Ryan Williams. Sean Raggett is back on the grass, but he will not be fit for the visit of Latics.