Rotherham manager Paul Warne fears Jamie Proctor's season is over with injury.
The striker, who was ruled out for most of last term with a serious knee problem, has suffered more heartache after requiring surgery on a hip problem ahead of Saturday's crucial visit to Ipswich.
He went under the knife earlier this week and Warne does not know if the former Bolton striker will be seen again this campaign.
"I think his season could be over," Warne said."We noticed he was struggling with his movement so investigations have been done into why. The surgery went okay. He has been very unlucky.
"Jamie had a bad year last year. This season he was going well but now he's had a massive setback."
Proctor made his return after 12 months out at the start of this season, but despite penning a lengthy new deal in the autumn, the 26-year-old has made only 18 appearances this season and most of them have been from the bench.
His lengthy absence perhaps heightens Warne's need for fresh blood this month, but he has already suffered frustration in the market.
He expected to sign a Premier League striker this week, but his target went elsewhere.
"There were other clubs in for him and unfortunately it didn’t end with us getting him," Warne added.
"We were as competitive as we could be."
The Millers are still actively looking and Warne is hoping a permanent deal for a different target can be agreed, but things might have to happen elsewhere.
"I'm waiting for the fee to be agreed. I'm not expecting anything to happen before the weekend.
"We're in constant conversations with people. It's the same everywhere. I've been speaking to another manager and he says it's chaos where he is. The pool of players is getting smaller and smaller, if I'm honest, because the big clubs are keeping hold of theirs.
"It changes on a daily basis. I had a phone call on Wednesday about a player I like who wasn't available a week ago and now, suddenly, he is. Hopefully we can get some fresh blood in to help the dressing room out."
Meanwhile, left-back Ben Purrington was recalled from his loan spell at AFC Wimbledon and immediately sent back out to fellow League One side Charlton.
Purrington, who has failed to win Warne over, has been one of the Dons' best performers in a struggling side and now moves to a team fighting for promotion.