Leeds United expect to be without Tom Lees for at least the next fortnight after the defender was diagnosed with damage to the retina in one eye.
Lees missed Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat at Burnley after undergoing medical scans 24 hours earlier, and he is set to be ruled out of United’s forthcoming games against Watford and Millwall.
The England Under-21 international was hurt in bizarre circumstances during the first half of Leeds’ 2-2 draw with Brighton last week.
An unintentional blow to the face temporarily blinded Lees in one eye, forcing him to leave the field shortly before half-time.
He underwent hospital treatment on the south coast before travelling home, with manager Neil Warnock describing the injury as “a worry”.
Warnock has now confirmed that the centre-back will be sidelined for a number of weeks, an absence which could see him sit out as many as five Championship matches.
The United boss said: “He’s going to be a few weeks and that’s if we’re fortunate. He’s got a little hole in his retina.
“It sounds really bad but it’s quite a common thing, not as serious as it sounds. He was poked in the eye and apparently it takes a couple of weeks to heal.”
Lees has been almost ever-present in Warnock’s line-up this season, starting 16 games in succession before dropping out of the side at Burnley.
The injury sustained by him at Brighton ended a troubling week for Lees, who was told ahead of the trip south that he was to be charged by Serbian police over his involvement in a brawl between the English and Serbian Under-21 squads in Krusevac last month.
His absence leaves Patrick Kisnorbo as Warnock’s only spare centre-back.