Newcastle have been dealt a huge blow with the news captain Fabricio Coloccini may be out for saeven weeks - which could spell the end of his Magpies career.
The defender picked up an injury when landing awkwardly when attempting a bicycle kick clearance during Newcastle's win over Southampton last month and tests have revealed he has broken two bones in his back.
Coloccini has returned to his native Argentina for treatment and manager Alan Pardew admits the 31-year-old is facing a long spell out.
"Colo has gone back to Argentina," Pardew said. "There's no treatment he can have - he's broken two of the bones in his back.
"We think it's going to be anything between three and seven weeks. He's gone back for a week."
Coloccini was linked with a move away from Newcastle in January and said when committing his future to the club that he would reassess his future in the summer.
Meanwhile, Pardew is hoping for positive news on the fitness of Papiss Cisse. The Senegalese striker has been ruled out of Thursday's Europa League tie at Anzhi Makhachkala through illness, but the manager hopes he will return in time for the clash against Stoke.
"It's something we'll have to overcome," he said. "It's a virus, but the doc doesn't think it's going to kick in for too long. But we obviously need him to train on Friday to get some air in his lungs. Nevertheless, we've got great players in this team."