Michael Appleton is bracing himself for Liam Lawrence’s lengthy absence to continue.
The club captain has not featured since the goalless draw at Crystal Palace on November 1.
He limped off with an ankle problem in the 83rd minute to be replaced by Erik Huseklepp.
Almost four weeks on, he is rated as purely 50-50 for Saturday’s visit of Coventry City to Fratton Park.
The ankle ligament damage has already robbed Pompey of the Republic of Ireland international for three matches.
In addition, Lawrence has yet to even train under new manager Appleton.
Instead, he has been receiving extensive treatment from the club’s medical staff to get him back on to the pitch.
For Appleton, the sustained loss of a potentially influential performer is a massive blow.
And he remains unsure quite when Lawrence will be available for selection again.
‘Liam is coming on a little bit slow,’ said Appleton.
‘Speaking from my own experience of ankles, I think sometimes it’s almost easier breaking your ankle than it is actually doing your ligaments.
‘The recovery from a sprain or tearing your ligaments can be much more difficult.
‘I think he’s in a situation where he must have done it quite badly initially and is still getting a little bit of acute pain from it.
‘His rehabilitation is going really well. He’s stepping up all the time and it might be a situation that he might need an odd injection.
‘I am not a sports medicine person or a physio but, from my point of view, I can only relate back what they tell me and trust their decision.
‘All I have been told is he is getting better bit by bit each day and he is a 50-50 possibility for the Coventry game.
‘It is one of those we are monitoring every 24 hours.’
For Lawrence, it is another set back in a dreadful 2011 footballing-wise.
The 29-year-old has suffered calf, hamstring and back problems which have restricted his appearances.
Crucially, such problems have also badly affected his fitness and form.
Unquestionably, Lawrence has failed to match the outstanding performances from his first six months at Fratton Park.
It has not been through lack of effort or enthusiasm, however.
Nonetheless, the ankle ligament injury is the latest blow to the former Stoke man.
But Appleton is desperate to get Lawrence back involved in his squad and sees him as a crucial player.
He added: ‘Liam has got a lot of talent, a lot of quality on the ball and he is the captain of the football club.
‘I want to get him back into the squad and the side as quickly as possible.
‘Liam himself is frustrated because he is desperate to play and desperate to get back into training.
‘Hopefully, he will be in a little bit of light training soon.
‘If we can build that up and get no reaction, maybe he can be in contention at the end of the week – but it is 50/50 for the Coventry fixture.
‘We will just have to see on that one.’