Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger fears star midfielder Santi Cazorla could be sidelined for another 10 weeks due to an ankle injury.
The Spain international has been out since late October, having made just 11 appearances in all competitions this season.
But Cazorla, 32, is set for an even longer stint out, with Wenger only hopeful over his availability late in the season.
“He’s far from starting to run again,” Wenger told a news conference.
“He had a little procedure, yes, but we have a meeting with the medical people to see what it was.
“Yeah, I hope so [that he’ll be available for the run-in].
“Because once you start to go out [running outside] you have to count six weeks’ preparation. At the moment he’s not at that level, so let’s hope he can come back in the next three or four weeks on the pitch.”
Arsenal are fifth in the Premier League table ahead of a trip to strugglers Swansea City on Saturday.