Senegal international Salif Sane will be out of action for up to four months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee on Monday.
The Schalke defender, 29, suffered the injury while playing in the 3-2 away win at Augsburg in the German Bundesliga on Sunday.
It means the experienced defender will not be available for his country's 2021 Nations Cup qualifiers against Congo and Eswatini this month.
"Depending on how quickly he recovers, the 29-year-old will be missing for up to three to four months, keeping him out until the second half of the season," his German said in statement.
Losing Sane is set to be a blow for both Schalke and the Teranga Lions as he is one of their most influential players.
He has played in all of Schalke's 10 league matches this season, scoring twice. But he could miss up to 20 games for the club he joined from rivals Hannover in summer 2018.
Born in France to Senegalese parents, he made a total of 70 appearances in the French top flight for both Nancy and his previous club Bordeaux, scoring five goals before moving to Germany in May 2013.
Eligible for France, the 6ft 4inch player emulated his older brother Lamin, by opting to represent the West African country.
Capped 30 times by Senegal, Sane has become a regular fixture under coach Aliou Cisse and played all group matches at the 2018 World Cup squad and helped them reach the Nations Cup final in Egypt this year.