LEEDS UNITED'S Gaetano Berardi is facing 16 weeks on the sidelines with the defender having suffered a hamstring tendon rupture.
Berardi suffered the injury in last month's 2-0 Championship victory at home to Ipswich Town and the 28-year-old has spent the past week seeing consultants in the UK and Italy.
The elected treatment is not surgical and Leeds now expect that Berardi will be missing for the next 16 weeks at a time when Whites team mate and fellow right back Luke Ayling is facing two months on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Ayling damaged the medial collateral ligament in his right knee in last weekend's 1-1 draw at home to Nottingham Forest.
Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa has already confirmed that winger Stuart Dallas will again be fielded as a full back in Sunday's Championship clash at Wigan Athletic for which Barry Douglas will return from injury at left back.