Indian midfielder Syed Rahim Nabi has been ruled out for at least six weeks with a fractured jaw after being hit by a stone hurled by a supporter during a game at the weekend, a report said.
Nabi, 26, has undergone surgery for the injury sustained during Sunday's away game between his club Mohun Bagan and bitter rivals East Bengal in front of 85,000 fans at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata.
The Kolkata-based Telegraph newspaper quoted the doctor who performed surgery on Nabi on Monday as saying that the Indian international would not be able to train for six weeks.
"The operation was successful," surgeon S.N. Sinha told the paper. "He is doing well. We will discharge him in five to six days. He can start training after six weeks."
Nabi has made 49 appearances for the national team, which is languishing at number 169 in the FIFA rankings. India is not due to play an international match till next year.
Mohun Bagan were a goal down when a stone hurled from one of the stands occupied by Bagan supporters -- apparently aimed at the referee -- hit Nabi and forced a 13-minute stoppage towards the end of the first half.
Mohun Bagan refused to take the field after the interval, citing security worries, leaving the popular club open to a three-year ban by the All-India Football Federation (AIFF).
The AIFF was seeking a legal opinion on whether it should go ahead and ban Mohun Bagan for not playing as per the rules of the I-League, the Telegraph quoted an unnamed official as saying.
"We don't want to take a chance," the official said. "It is always safe to take legal opinion as that would tell us exactly where we stand."
Mohun Bagan's next match is against Pailan Arrows on Saturday.
The incident came as Britain's Professional Footballers' Association said there was a case to be made for erecting nets to protect players from missiles after Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand was hit by a coin at the weekend.