Charlie Colkett has been ruled out of action for at least three months due to injury.
The 25-year-old midfielder, who signed a two-year deal with Crewe Alexandra earlier this summer, sustained a hamstring injury during his first start for the club at Grimsby Town last week.
Now scans have revealed the damage is severe and he is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Manager Alex Morris said: “I’m very disappointed for Charlie, he’s going to be out for at least three months – which would suggest he’s had a huge tear in his hamstring in the Grimsby game.
“We are not going to see him until really close to Christmas. That means we are depleted, in terms of having a body missing in the middle of the pitch.”
Meanwhile, Chris Long has suffered a setback in his mission to get back in action.
The 27-year-old striker, who missed the vast majority of pre-season due to an ankle injury, has been struck down by illness.
Morris added: “His actual injury took far longer than anticipated but it has now healed, but he’s not in a great way after a severe bout of food poisoning.
“It means we just can’t do anything with him. How long that will be the case, I don’t know. I’ve kept making predictions about when it might be that we can see Chris Long back, but I’m going to stop doing that now because it doesn’t long much brighter a picture as of today because of the severity of the food poisoning he’s had.
“He’s lost a lot of weight, can’t get out on the grass at the moment, so it’s disappointing because he is a key player and we’ve not been able to call upon him yet.”