Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne will miss the next five to six weeks with a knee injury, meaning he sits out the Manchester derby.
Earlier on Friday, sources had told ESPN FC that De Bruyne would miss the visit of Manchester United on Nov. 11.
The 27-year-old has already missed two months this season after damaging ligaments in his right knee during training in August.
“It’s not about the Manchester derby. That is three points like Southampton is three points. The Manchester derby is not a final — it will be just another game,” coach Pep Guardiola told a news conference.
“Kevin was already out two and a half months, and we are sad for him. Nobody likes injured players.
“You cannot expect a player like we know Kevin is to come back and have the rhythm and the pace and everything.
“Yesterday he came back in many, many things. Unfortunately he’s injured, but fortunately it’s not surgery. The doctor says he will be out for five to six weeks.”
De Bruyne injured his left knee in the 2-0 win over Fulham in the Carabao Cup on Thursday, hobbling from the pitch in the 85th minute after defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah had landed heavily on his leg.
He will miss Sunday’s clash with Southampton, Wednesday’s Champions League game with Shakhtar Donetsk and the derby with United, and is a doubt for the trip to Chelsea on Dec. 8.
“This kind of injury is unlucky. He’s so strong and he recovered so well from the previous injury — it was more dangerous than this one,” Guardiola said.
“He’ll recover well because we have an excellent [medical] department. I’m more concerned about muscular [injuries]. He’s unlucky with that situation.
“We are a stronger team with Kevin than without him, but we have to live without him and we have to be there when he comes back.”
Although De Bruyne, whose wife gave birth to their second child on Wednesday, does not require an operation, he will fly to Barcelona to see specialist Dr Ramon Cagut.
Guardiola said he hoped the extended period on the sidelines will mean he is even stronger for the second half of the season.
“Yesterday he was so sad, I didn’t see him after the game, but the doctors said he was so sad,” he said. “Today he was so sad and the next day he’ll be strong again.
“He can spend time with his new boy and his family and, after the international break, two or three more games and he will be back.
“Hopefully we’ll be in the knockout of the Champions League when he comes back, and stay up there in the Premier League.
“And maybe that is going to help us in the last part of the season — he will be fresh and his body and help us reach our targets.”