Jose Mourinho has categorised Paul Pogba's hamstring injury as "long term", enhancing fears that Manchester United will remain without their influential midfielder until after the November international break.
Pogba limped out of an opening 3-0 Champions League Group A victory over FC Basel on 12 September after only 19 minutes and has been sidelined ever since, with updates on his condition few and far between.
United are said to have consulted with Sakari Orava, the renowned Finnish surgeon who recently operated on Barcelona's record signing Ousmane Dembele, to determine whether or not he might need to go under the knife.
Asked for another update during a press conference held before Saturday's visit of crisis-stricken Crystal Palace to Old Trafford, he grouped Pogba alongside Marcos Rojo and re-signed striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic - both of whom have been out since suffering serious knee injuries in the Europa League quarter-final second-leg defeat of Anderlecht in April - in his list of long-term absentees.
"He's injured," the manager said of Pogba. "He cannot play tomorrow and it's not an injury that I can have the hope like I can have with Jones or Antonio Valencia. With them, I have the hope to see them training and to have a positive answer. For long-term injuries, I don't speak about them, so Ibra, Pogba, Rojo and these players, I don't think about them."
Mourinho also confirmed that Phil Jones and Michael Carrick would remain unavailable for that meeting with winless and rock-bottom Palace after both players missed the 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow due to unspecified injuries.
"They are out," he said. "They were out [on Wednesday] and tomorrow some [players] will be out [too]. What I'm saying is that from all the injuries we had, I hope that I can have some players available for tomorrow."
Antonio Valencia should return after being rested for that long trip to Russia, while Anthony Martial is also expected to be fit despite reportedly undergoing a scan on a thigh problem that led to his second-half substitution in Moscow. Ibrahimovic and Rojo are not due to make their respective comebacks until after Christmas, however.
Mourinho also said after that midweek victory that he possessed "just a hope" that Marouane Fellaini would be in contention to face Roy Hodgson's Eagles after sustaining a nasty blow to the ankle during a challenge from Southampton striker Shane Long last weekend. It remains to be seen if he will be in a position to feature.