Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed Wilfred Ndidi could be sidelined from action for between six to 12 weeks due to a ‘nasty injury’.
The 23-year-old suffered a groin strain in their Premier League win over Burnley on Sunday but managed to play for the duration of the game.
The Nigeria international missed his side’s defeat against Arsenal in Wednesday’s League Cup tie at the King Power Stadium.
Ndidi was included in the Super Eagles squad to face Tunisia and Ivory Coast in friendlies next month and Goal confirmed the midfielder has withdrawn from the match due to injury.
Rodgers has now revealed the 23-year-old could be out of action for up to three months should he undergo surgery.
“We’re just waiting to hear more on that, but he could be anything between six and 12 weeks. It’s an abductor which may have come off the bone," Rodgers told the club website.
“It’s quite a nasty injury, so we’re waiting to see if he needs an operation or not. If it’s an operation, then he’ll be at least 12 weeks.”
Ndidi played as a centre-back in the Foxes' opening Premier League games against West Bromwich Albion and Burnley due to the unavailability of Wes Morgan, Jonny Evans and Filip Benkovic.
Following the midfielder’s withdrawal from Nigeria's friendlies, former assistant coach and Awka United manager Kennedy Boboye has suggested ex-U17 captain Samson Tijani and Galatasaray’s Oghenekaro Etebo could be drafted in as his replacement.
“Ndidi should be the only player actually playing in that position in the national team. If he is injured, I think we should have a better replacement. The coaches working with them know,” Boboye told Goal.
“That position is where Oghenekaro Etebo has been played in more than three games for Nigeria so he can fill the void as usual.
“We have Samson Tijani, the Golden Eaglets captain who is playing regularly for his club in Europe and he is a better replacement if Ndidi is not there, though he might lack the experience. The advantage is that he's playing at his club and they can give him a guideline.”
Ndidi has been a prominent member of the Super Eagles since he made his international debut against the Democratic Republic of the Congo in October 2015.
The midfielder has more than 35 appearances for the Nigeria national team and was part of the side that finished third at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.