NICK Ross will undergo a scan this week to determine if the shoulder he dislocated in Caley Thistle’s defeat to Celtic requires an operation.
The versatile player had to be substituted in the second half following a collision with Celtic full back Emilio Izaguirre in the build-up to the Hoops fourth goal.
Ross was later taken to Raigmore Hospital where he had his right shoulder put back in place.
The 20-year-old, however, is still awaiting a scan to full determine the extent of damage and if he is going to need surgery to rectify the problem.
"It’s a really harsh blow for Nick," said Caley Thistle manager Terry Butcher. "He’s a tremendous player for us.
"The Celtic game was his first full start of the season and I felt he did well.
"He was take up to Raigmore on Saturday night and they put his shoulder back in.
"We need to have a look at it and see how serious it is, but it’s nowhere near ideal for us or Nick.
"It’s a real shame because Nick can play anywhere across the midfield, or even further forward if required.
"At this stage I wouldn’t like to say how long he is going to be out for because it all depends on if he needs an operation or not.
"If that is the case then it could be quite a few months, but hopefully it won’t be.
"He is due to go back for a scan this week, so we’ll see what comes from that."
Regardless of the extent of Ross’ injury, no additional funds are expected to be made available in order to even seek a replacement short-term.
Butcher will continue to work with the squad that he has got and it is one that is busy preparing for tomorrow night’s Scottish Communities League Cup second round encounter away to current Second Division leaders Arbroath.
Inverness had their interest in last year’s competition ended by lower league opposition in Ayr United, but Butcher does not want his players to dwell on what happened 12 months ago.
"You never want to think too much about the negatives," he said.
"We’re still very much aware of what happened against Ayr last season, while in pre-season we travelled to Brechin City and lost to them as well.
"Given this, we should know what to expect going into Wednesday’s game against Arbroath.
"Upfront they have Derek Holmes, who’s a good, honest professional. Former Motherwell man Brian Kerr plays for them in midfield, while Alex Keddie, the ex-Ross County and Dunfermline defender, is another with good experience.
"In goal they have Tony Bullock, who is also the club’s goalkeeping coach, but he’s had to come in due to an injury to their regular goalkeeper.
"On Saturday, they came back from two goals down and having a man sent-off against Alloa to win 3-2, so it shows how difficult it is going to be.
"Our recent record in cup competitions is not that great, so we want to try and start changing that."
Butcher will look at changes, but with such a small squad his options in terms of making alterations are limited.
He is, however, pleased with the impact Caley Thistle’s youngsters are making in the first-team squad.
"Conor Pepper followed up the equalising goal he scored against Hearts with a wonderful pass to set up Ross Draper for a goal on Saturday," said Butcher.
"He’s not been with us very long, but he’s settled in very well and has already managed to make an impression.
"Matthew Cooper is on his way back following an ankle injury, while Martin Laing and Liam Polworth have seized their opportunity as well.
"All of the young boys that we have certainly haven’t let us down when called upon and it’s great to see so many coming through the youth system."
Butcher will be able to call upon the services of Owain Tudur Jones for the trip to Arbroath tomorrow night after he completed a two-match ban, but captain Richie Foran is still suspended.