Colchester United defender Josh Thompson's prospects of playing again this season have diminished after a problem with his recovery.
The 22-year-old had played just 25 minutes this term before undergoing
"Josh has suffered a setback so it'll be a few more weeks," boss Joe Dunne told BBC Essex.
"It's 50-50 whether he'll play again this season but I've said to Josh 'take as much time as you need'."
Thompson, an arrival from Portsmouth last season, initially injured his ankle towards the beginning of the current campaign.
The centre-half made an attempted comeback as a substitute in a Johnstone's Paint Trophy game against Dagenham & Redbridge in September, but had an operation a month later.
It was hoped he would return by mid-January, but his attempts to train this week have been stopped short by a problem with the same ankle.
"Sometimes when players are employed by clubs they feel they've got to rush back but I would never do that to a player," said Dunne, whose own playing career was ended by a knee injury.
"I had that experience and look what happened to me. Josh just needs to get back and make sure things are right."