Crystal Palace midfielder Eberechi Eze has been ruled out for up to three-to-four weeks with an ankle ligament injury.
He was forced off in the second half during the Palace’s 2-1 defeat at Kenilworth Road on Saturday afternoon.
The injury was sustained when the Palace man tangled with Luton’s Gabriel Osho, and the defender landed on top of Eze’s ankle, causing an immediate wince from the England international.
Palace boss Roy Hodgson was displeased about the incident post-match, pointing out how the altercation went unpunished, despite the damage caused to Eze.
Hodgson said: “We were particularly frustrated because it was so unnecessary, to land on (Eze) and restrain him like (Osho) did, for that just to be waved aside, not only did we not get a free-kick in a dangerous position, we also lost one of our most important players.”
Eze tried to play on, coming back out for the second half, but within just a few minutes, he was forced off and replaced by Jordan Ayew, with the score still 0-0.
The injury is set to rule the midfielder out of Palace’s upcoming games against West Ham United and Bournemouth, with fears that the worst-case scenario could see him miss the rest of 2023.
That is despite Eze saying he believed the issue was not too serious in the aftermath of the game on Saturday.
It is yet another setback for Eze, who only recently returned to the side after a month out with a hamstring injury.
Eze picked up that problem late in their win away to Manchester United, and did not make another start until the 3-2 defeat to Everton shortly before the international break.
The hamstring injury ruled the 25-year-old out for all of October, and meant he also missed England’s crucial international window which saw them seal progression to Euro 2024 next summer.
Eze was then not selected by Gareth Southgate for this month’s break as England completed their campaign against Malta and North Macedonia.
Mounting injuries could put Eze’s place in the squad under threat, if he is unable to play consistently for his club, and if issues will continue to rule him out of contention when the England side reconvene.
Like all teams at this time of the year, Palace have a hectic schedule, with a midweek matchday coming up as well as the festive window where they will play seven league games in December alone.
With Cheick Doucoure also set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, Hodgson will hope the Eze injury is not too serious, and he can welcome back last season’s top scorer sooner rather than later.