Torquay United defender Aarran Racine is set to miss the rest of the season after suffering a suspected anterior cruciate ligament injury on his debut.
The 25-year-old signed on loan from Forest Green on Thursday and sustained the injury conceding a penalty.
Racine was taken off after fouling Luke Hannant in the 54th minute, though Torquay went on to win 3-1.
“He’s given a penalty away at the time because his leg’s buckled under him,” said Gulls boss Kevin Nicholson.
“It’s possibly ACL – we might be fortunate, but the chances are that Racine will be out for the season now.
“He looked like the leader I know he is – he was calm, solid, reading the game well and it’s really unfortunate for him that it’s happened.”
Gateshead scored the penalty to level the match but Torquay, without Racine, still managed to pick up their first victory in five National League games.
“I worked so long to get an experienced centre-half in, I might have to delve back [into the market],” Nicholson told BBC Radio Devon.