Sutton United’s Rhys Weston will miss the rest of the Skrill South season after rupturing knee ligaments in the weekend draw at Eastbourne Borough.
Weston, on loan from AFC Wimbledon, underwent surgery on Monday to reconstruct the patella tendon.
The injury took the shine off a hard-fought point from a 1-1 draw that keeps United in the Skrill South play-offs.
Jamie Slabber’s 11th league goal of the season levelled matters on the south coast after the hosts had taken a first half lead.
Boss Paul Doswell said: “We really feel for Rhys, but he is going to be in a cast for about eight weeks, and it could be up to eight months before he can walk properly again.
“It was an innocuous challenege, nothing in it at all, but it was clear it was a serious injury. It’s a shame because he is a very popular member of the squad.”
United host Slabber’s former club Chelmsford City this weekend, before a big top of the table meeting at leaders Bromley on Tuesday.
Doswell has been working on the stats to make sure United, currently third in the table, stay where they are come the end of the season.
“We’ve been getting an average of 1.7 points a game, and if we keep doing that, we’ll be in the play-offs.
“I am not counting any chickens yet, there is a long way to go, but I want at least third place so we are at home in the play-offs.”
After the winter of rain and more rain, United have managed three games without a postponement – before then only two in five matches survived.
However, despite the disruption, United remain unbeaten in 2014.
Doswell said: “We are helped massively by the fact that we train three times a week on an all-weather surface.
“But all the players work tremendously hard week in, week out, and they are getting their rewards on match day. They deserve great credit for that.”
Alex Wynter’s loan spell from Crystal Palace comes to an end this weekend, but Doswell remains confident the defender will be allowed to remain at Gander Green Lane for at least another month.
Staying around: Alex Wynter's loan move ends this weekend, but Sutton United boss Paul Doswell is confident he will be staying at GGL for some time yet