Stones has been ruled out for five weeks through injury “He (Stones) is out four, five or six weeks. He was injured in training this morning. It is a muscular problem,” Guardiola said.
Stones’ absence will add to the defensive problems for City, with French centre-back Aymeric Laporte already likely to be out until the New Year.
Now, Guardiola is now down to one fit central defender in Nicolas Otamendi and he has suggested Fernandinho could start at the heart of his defence against Shakhtar, while teenagers Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis are also in contention.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed that John Stones faces four to five weeks out with a muscular injury.
The England international had only just returned to action after a similar problem kept him out of the games against Tottenham, Bournemouth and Brighton.
Supporters on Twitter have been reacting to the defensive injury crisis with many calling for the likes of Eric Garcia to be given their chance in the first team:
The failure to replace Vincent Kompany in the summer is looking like a massive error on the club’s part. With Stones joining Aymeric Laporte on the treatment table, Guardiola is left with just one fit recognised centre-half.
Fernandinho will almost certainly deputise against Shakhtar Donetsk tomorrow and with seven games over the next six weeks, it is likely most of those matches will see the Brazilian partnered with Nicolas Otamendi.
Guardiola has shown tremendous ingenuity in converting midfielders into centre-halves in the past, and he will need all of his know-how to make sure this centre-back partnership doesn’t concede too many goals.
The injury comes as City prepare for a busy period of games in the Premier League, Champions League and Carabao Cup.
Stones, 25, could miss up to eight league and cup matches for reigning Premier League champions City, who suffered a surprise 3-2 defeat at newly-promoted Norwich last Saturday.
“For me as a manager it is an incredible challenge,” said City boss Pep Guardiola after revealing the news about Stones’ injury during a news conference.
“But I believe in something people don’t know about – spirit and commitment. We will make steps forward to solve this problem.”
After facing Shakhtar, City entertain Watford on Saturday before playing Championship Preston at Deepdale in the third round of the EFL Cup next Tuesday.
City are away to Everton on 28 September, host Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League on 1 October before welcoming Wolves to Etihad Stadium five days later.
After the international break, Pep Guardiola’s side are at Crystal Palace on 19 October and then host Italian side Atalanta in the Champions League three days later.
France centre-back Laporte, 25, had surgery on his right knee after being carried off during the 4-0 win over Brighton on 31 August.
City are second in the Premier League table, five points behind leaders Liverpool.