Paul Robinson may not play for Pompey again this season as the severity of his injury becomes clearer.
Andy Awford is unable to put a recovery timeframe on the influential defender following the fractured right cheekbone sustained against Luton.
With surgery required, the central defender will be out for what is currently an unspecified number of weeks.
But Awford is bracing himself for the worst-case scenario of that potentially stretching past the May 2 end to the campaign.
That leaves Ben Chorley, Adam Webster and Johnny Ertl vying to step into Robinson’s place for the visit of Cheltenham tonight (7.45pm).
In the meantime, the 33-year-old former Millwall defender has begun his battle to return from his injury.
I don’t know if he will play again this season, we cannot say one way or the other, they have got to go and do some surgery to it and take it as it comes.Andy Awford
Awford said: ‘Robbo has a fracture. There was an X-ray on Saturday night, he saw a specialist yesterday and will need an operation.
‘He will be out for weeks not days.
‘I don’t know if he will play again this season, we cannot say one way or the other. They have got to go and do some surgery to it and take it as it comes.
‘We just have to go week by week with him.
‘There is that Gazza (Paul Gascoigne) face mask which people talk about. If Paul gets back out there this season then I would think he would wear some protection.
‘If it’s into next season when we next see him it will have had time to heal so he wouldn’t need to wear one, that is my own opinion.
‘Robbo will be out there the minute he can be, we just have to be patient with it.
‘It is a blow, of course it is. He has been fantastic for us this season and we will miss him and it will now give someone the opportunity to step in and fill his shoes.’
Webster was the sole central defender on the bench against Luton and subsequently replaced the injured Robinson for the remaining 19 minutes.
Chorley and Ertl didn’t make Saturday’s match-day 18, but Awford insists they are also considerations to start against the Robins tonight.
‘I thought Adam did well (against Luton),’ said Awford.
‘He went in there, we didn’t concede and he was solid.
‘I have a few options who to replace Robbo. We have two or three different personnel we could play like-for-like or we could change the system and go with a back four.
‘I would have no qualms putting Adam in at centre-half if that is the choice we make – the same with Ben Chorley or Johnny Ertl. That is a decision we have to make.
‘Ben and Johnny were not on the bench on Saturday, that was our choice. They are both fit and available.
‘For that particular game you have an idea of what you are going to need and what you are thinking of doing in regards to having a plan B and a plan C.
‘But now Robbo is out it is a different consideration.’