The Belgium international has been ruled out for at least four weeks and his absence leaves boss Manuel Pellegrini with defensive problems, with Matija Nastasic having only returned to training this week – earlier than scheduled – after an ankle injury.
With Micah Richards also nursing a knock, midfielder Javi Garcia played alongside Joleon Lescott in a makeshift backline in the closing stages against Newcastle.
One other possible option for Sunday’s clash – which is being shown live on Sky Sports 1 HD – is 22-year-old Dedryck Boyata, who is hoping to kickstart his City career after loan spells at Bolton and FC Twente in the past two seasons.
Striker Stevan Jovetic, the only one of City’s four summer signings not to feature on Monday, is likely to be in contention after a minor hamstring issue.
Winger Scott Sinclair has completed a season-long loan move to West Brom.
For the hosts, Andreas Cornelius could make his Premier League debut at the the Cardiff City Stadium.
The Danish striker missed last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at West Ham due to an ankle injury, but is fighting fit for the visit of Pellegrini’s men.
Andrew Taylor is set to slot in at left-back in place of Declan John having been suspended last week.
Manager Malky Mackay must weigh up whether to give John Brayford a debut on the other side of defence in place of Matthew Connolly.