Manchester City's Jerome Boateng has been ruled out for the rest of the season, bar the final two games, after being told he needs to undergo knee surgery.
Boateng suffered the injury while on international duty with Germany last week.
City manager Roberto Mancini said today: "He will have surgery in the next two or three days. Maybe he will be fit for the last two games."
There was more positive news regarding Micah Richards. Mancini said he was hoping that the defender, who suffered a hamstring injury last week while with the England U-21 team, will be fit in time for the FA Cup semi-final clash with rivals Manchester United at Wembley on 16 April.
"We are trying to get him fit for the semi-final. I don't know if it is possible but we hope," said Mancini.
The twin problem, coupled with Kolo Toure's continued absence, leaves City struggling for defenders ahead of their Premier League encounter with Sunderland.