Nicol told ESPN: "I think we should try and get [Dejan] Lovren back on loan, maybe that would solve the problem, [Mamadou] Sakho's not getting a game for Palace either.
"We're basically down to Rhys Williams who's not even a centre-back. It's just backs-to-the-wall time.
"Defensively you take no chances, clear your lines, keep things simple and try and keep a good shape.
"Joe Gomez is going to have to take the burden of that because he's the only recognised centre-back really left. I can't imagine Matip being fit again before at least this time next year, because he never is.
"Joe Gomez is going to have to grow up very quickly in this next couple of weeks."