Papiss Cisse's facing several weeks on the sidelines, according to Steve McClaren.
The striker hurt is groin in last weekend's 1-1 draw against Aston Villa.
And the club fear that Cisse, out of this evening's home game against Everton, will miss most of January.
However, Aleksandar Mitrovic has recovered from an ankle problem in time to play in the game, while forward Ayoze Perez also gets a start.
Head coach McClaren said: "It was always a long shot (for Papiss Cisse to play against Everton).
"It’s going to be quite a few weeks. Mitro also had an ankle injury and was jut passed fit.
"Ayoze’s been doing well, so we’ll give him the opportunity today."