Crewe Alexandra striker Harry Bunn is expected to miss the rest of the season with severe knee ligament damage.
Crewe boss Steve Davis had earlier said he may look to loan another striker if Bunn's injury was as bad as expected.
"He's suffered severe ligament damage around the lateral part of cruciate," Davis confirmed to the club website.
"He will possibly need a couple of operations and it will be a long rehabilitation process for him.
"I wouldn't want to put a timescale on it but he is a young lad and will come back."
Before suffering the injury, Bunn, who has also had loan spells at Rochdale, Preston and Oldham, was yet to score in any of his four games for Crewe.
And now due to the loan arrangements, he has returned to his parent club to receive treatment for the injury.
"We have been in dialogue with Manchester City and he will have the very best consultants and surgeons there," Davis said.
"Everyone associated with the club wishes him a speedy recovery because is a good player and a smashing lad."