Gillingham defender Simon King is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after scans revealed he has suffered a ruptured ankle ligament.
Influential centre-back King suffered the injury against Bromley last week and it was initially feared he would be out for a month, but the 26-year-old - the club`s player of the year - is now looking at three months out of action.
Manager Mark Stimson said: "It is a big, big blow and I wasn't expecting it. I was expecting a month but now it looks longer and that's not a good sign because I think he's the best left-footed centre-half in the league. They are hard to replace but we have to get on with it."
He added: "That news has thrown me because we were told something last week that wasn't too bad but we have had another scan that has blown me out of the water if I'm honest because I wasn't visualising that happening.
"Simon King for me is the complete centre-half and if I was manager of a Championship team I would probably go and pay £1.5million for someone like that.
"Maybe in a month's time I thought he would be back but we will have to go back in now and make some more phone calls and we might have to get another centre-half to cover."
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