Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna will be ruled out for up to a month with a hamstring tear.
However, boss Derek McInnes admitted he feared McKenna’s injury, and time out, could have been far more severe.
The 22-year-old, pictured, sustained the injury on the Rugby Park artificial surface in a 0-0 draw with Kilmarnock at the weekend.
McKenna limped off midway through the first-half and was not named in Scotland boss Steve Clarke’s squad to face Russia and Belgium in the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
In a further defensive injury blow ahead of Saturday’s Premiership clash with Ross County, centre-back Ash Taylor has suffered a setback in his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury.
Summer signing Taylor suffered the injury in the 1-1 draw with Chikhura Sachkhere in the Europa League second qualifying round first leg in Tbilisi, Georgia, last month.
McInnes said on McKenna: “We got the scan results back yesterday morning and as expected there is a bit of a tear.
“It is not as bad as it could have been but it is still going to be either three or four weeks.
“However, based on how we felt at the time we were concerned it might be longer than that.
“We just need to deal with it and move on.”
Centre-back Taylor had been on course to be considered for selection to face Ross County but has suffered a setback in his battle to return from a hamstring injury.
McInnes said: “Ash has had a little recurrence as part of his rehab, which is frustrating.”
Meanwhile, Aberdeen striker Stevie May is closing in on a permanent move to St Johnstone.
May has agreed personal terms for a return to McDiarmid Park.
The deal is subject to the striker negotiating his release from the final two years of his contract at Pittodrie.
May was signed on a four-year contract from Preston North End in a £400,000 in summer 2017.
A deal to take May to St Johnstone collapsed earlier in the transfer window.
But the protracted transfer saga is set to finally end before the window closes on Monday at midnight, with Saints offering a two-year contract to the Dons striker.