Vincent Kompany has been ruled out of Belgium's World Cup qualifiers with a quad injury that Manchester City will assess in a week's time. Manuel Pellegrini faces an anxious wait to discover if his captain can return within a fortnight for a pivotal pair of games.
While City are not placing any timescale on Kompany's potential return, Pellegrini hopes he will have recovered from the latest in a series of injuries that have plagued him in time for the trip to CSKA Moscow in the Champions League on 23 October and the Premier League meeting against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge four days later.
Kompany suffered the latest setback after 34 minutes of City's 3-1 win against Everton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday. While the defender has had a dismaying run of layoffs over the past three seasons there is optimism at the club that Kompany can make a speedy recovery as the current problem is not a recurrence of any previous one.
Since the spring of 2012 Kompany has had to deal with three injuries to the same calf, before separate groin, hamstring and now thigh problems.
After the Everton game, Pellegrini was asked if he had any long-term concerns over the 27-year-old due to the unfortunate spate of problems. Speaking before he had any knowledge of the injury, City's Chilean manager said: "That's something for the medical men to answer and not me but he plays always at 100% of what he can do. Maybe his muscle will have problems. But I don't think it's the same injury he had at the beginning of the season."
Despite Pellegrini's assurances, there is bound to be caution regarding when Kompany might play again. Before the Moscow and Chelsea matches City travel to West Ham United on Saturday-week, so whether he would be risked for that match, even if he can resume full training sometime next week, appears unlikely at this juncture.
There may also be scrutiny of Kompany's training and recovery regime to understand if any parts of these processes should be changed to help prevent any further problems for the player.
Pellegrini, meanwhile, should shortly receive a boost when Martín Demichelis, the central defender signed in the summer, begins training following a knee injury. The Argentinian is yet to feature for City due to suffering the problem shortly after signing at the end of the transfer window.
If the 32-year-old, who cost City £4.2m from Atlético Madrid and worked previously under Pellegrini at fellow La Liga club Málaga, can quickly return to full fitness, he would provide experienced cover for Kompany.