Bristol City boss Keith Millen has voiced his frustration at the timing of Steven Caulker's injury.
The on-loan Tottenham centre-half will miss the remainder of the season due to cartilage damage and is set for knee surgery in London this week.
"The timing could not be any worse for us," said Millen.
The news comes as a blow to the Championship club, who are already without key defenders Louis Carey, Liam Fontaine and Jamie McAllister through injury.
With the deadline for emergency loan signings having now passed, Millen faces a major headache ahead of this weekend's home game against Doncaster.
He added: "I had a couple of central defenders I was keeping tabs on last week but, with a few lads about to come back from injury, I decided to go with what I had.
"When I had the call from Tottenham saying that Steven would be out for the rest of the season, it was already too late for me to get anyone else in. We're down to the bare bones in terms of fit defenders and it's really frustrating for me."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.