WES Brown is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering suspected knee ligament damage in the Wear-Tees derby.
The Sunderland centre-half fell heavily in the second half of yesterday’s FA Cup fourth round clash before being replaced by Michael Turner.
Brown will undergo tests today on the extent of the damage, but Black Cats boss Martin O’Neill fears the former Manchester United man could be out for a while.
O’Neill said: ““Wes is very, very sore – it might be medial ligament.
“He’ll be scanned, but it will be a blow to us if we lose him for any length of time.”
With in-form Norwich City visiting the Stadium of Light on Wednesday, O’Neill has a number of injury concerns hanging over his squad.
David Vaughan was forced off yesterday after receiving a heavy blow to the ankle, with fit-again Jack Colback replacing the Welsh international.
And Sunderland are still waiting to see the extent of the damage to Lee Cattermole’s hamstring after the skipper was forced out of the clash with his former employers.
Cattermole was missed yesterday – as O’Neill was the first to admit.
“The Lee injury was unexpected,” he winced.
“We were going along nicely in the training session before the day of the game – nothing heavy – and he just pulled up before the end.
“Rather than risk him, we erred on the side of caution.
“He’ll have a scan and we did miss him.
“We’re desperately hoping it’s nothing major.”