Roy Hodgson admitted he will remain optimistic that Cheick Doucoure could return before the end of the season after the Crystal Palace midfielder ruptured his Achilles in last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Luton.
Our paper reported over the weekend that the Mali international could be out for up to six months after being stretchered off in the 49th minute at Kenilworth Road.
The 23-year-old will miss the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations due to the injury.
“It’s bad,” admitted Hodgson.
“He’s snapped his Achilles tendon, so it’s a question of how long that takes to heal.
“It could take as long as the end of the season, but of course one remains optimistic.
“He’s young and a quick healer, so I don’t think it necessarily has to be that amount of time, but we know it’s a long-term injury and we’ll miss him.
“It’s a massive blow, especially seeing as in his position we don’t have as much cover as we do in some other positions, so to lose him is a real blow in the game.
“To turn out to be such a serious injury which will deprive of his services for such a long period of time is something we’re going to have to come to terms with and find a way around.”
Eberechi Eze also suffered an injury blow during the defeat, coming off at the start of the second half with ligament damage in his ankle.
“We should know more after he’s seen the surgeon again today,” added Hodgson.
“He saw the surgeon at the start of the week and had his ankle put in a boot because it’s a ligament problem.
“He’s going to see him again today. It’s a high ankle ligament which apparently is not quite as serious as it could be when you get a bad ligament injury lower down, but it’s still a considerable injury. We’re waiting on the advice from the surgeon again today to find out how long it will take before he gets back.
“I would hope not and think not [surgery] from what I’m being told is the way the injury will potentially pan out, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to be ready to play on Sunday, that’s for sure.
“It’s a real blow in a way that, at Luton, we had what we considered to be perhaps our strongest available team there for us for the first time in a long time, and by the time the second half had just started, we were missing two of them again.”
PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD
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