Reading's captain, Graeme Murty, has been ruled out for up to three weeks with hamstring injuries in both legs and will miss the Premiership games against Arsenal and Portsmouth as well as the Carling Cup trip to Liverpool.
It is the latest blow for the newly promoted Royals, who say that their striker Dave Kitson "is weeks away" from a return after damaging a knee in the opening match of the season while the on-loan Hungarian defender Peter Mate could be out for up to eight months, also with a knee injury.
Reading, who are eighth in the Premiership despite defeat by Chelsea in Saturday's controversial home game, also have the midfielder Simon Cox out of action with a broken ankle but the American winger Bobby Convey should return to face Arsenal at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday after missing the Chelsea game with knee trouble.
Murty missed the 1-0 win at West Ham on 1 October and was then forced to pull out of Scotland's two Euro 2008 qualifiers against France and Ukraine. But after being passed fit to play against Chelsea, he had to hobble off after 32 minutes.
Reading are still hoping that Kitson will not need surgery after he continued a course of injections in his knee at the weekend. That is not the case, however, for the Hungary Under-21 international Mate, who sustained a cruciate knee ligament tear in a reserve game at Aldershot last month and will now need an operation to fix the problem.Reuse content