On-loan Port Vale defender Ryan Inniss has returned to parent club Crystal Palace for treatment on an ankle injury suffered in Saturday's win at Coventry.
The 19-year-old sustained ligament damage after a high challenge from Sky Blues striker Marcus Tudgay.
Inniss made five appearances for the Valiants since joining in February, but is not expected to be able return to the club this season.
"It looks unlikely at the moment," manager Rob Page told BBC Radio Stoke.
"We don't want to say too much as there might be a chance, but we'll know more soon."
The centre-half's original loan deal had been set to expire later this week, but Port Vale were looking to extend Inniss's stay after keeping three clean sheets in his first four matches for the club.
Ryan McGivern is expected to take Inniss's place in the side after replacing him against Coventry.
"It's an opportunity now for others to step up to the plate," said Page.
"I thought Ryan gave a good account of himself."