Central Coast Mariners' horror start to the A-League season could plunge to a new low with marquee Ross McCormack to see a surgeon for his knee injury.
McCormack has missed the Mariners' past two games - including Friday's 2-0 loss to Western Sydney Wanderers - after an awkward fall during training a fortnight ago.
And while the club originally said it was a minor bone bruising, coach Mike Mulvey admitted he could now be without his striker for at least four weeks.
"Ross McCormack is probably out for about four to five weeks, he's tweaked his knee. He's seeing the surgeon on Monday," Mulvey said after the loss.
"We'll work out a plan for him to get back."
McCormack headlines a lengthy casualty ward for the last-placed Mariners, who are now without a win over the opening seven rounds of the season.
The good news is that gun midfielder Tommy Oar could return next week.
"We were hoping he was going to be back for this game but it looks like at least another week," Mulvey said.
"Corey Gamiero still hasn't been sighted as yet because he had one setback after another, and another guy we really want to get into the fray is Jordan Murray.
"He tweaked an ankle against Perth and hopefully he'll be back soon. I'd like to get him into the fray because he could make a difference."
The Mariners were in the fight for most of the first half at Spotless Stadium until Wanderers midfielder Keanu Baccus scored deep into stoppage-time.
From there the visitors struggled to put serious pressure on the home side before being put of their misery by a magical Wanderers team goal.
Defeat continued the club's worst-ever start to a season in A-League history, and leaves them one loss away from the worst-ever start by any team.
But Mulvey couldn't fault his team's effort and while he admitted their ladder position made for horror reading, said it was still early in the season.
"I can't be disappointed because they're giving it everything they've got," he said.
"We don't have an (Alex) Baumjohann, somebody like this that can turn a game, when he gets on the ball looks ever so dangerous.
"We haven't got that kind of player at the moment."