Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta has been ruled out for the rest of the season after rupturing a cruciate ligament in his right knee against Newcastle yesterday.
The Spanish playmaker was carried off on a stretcher only three minutes into the goalless draw at St James' Park and was on his way back to Merseyside even before the end of the first half.
Scans last night revealed the full seriousness of the injury and the 26-year-old, who has scored seven goals this season, now faces months on the sidelines.
Arteta's injury is the latest in a long line of fitness problems to affect Everton, and he becomes the second player to be ruled out for the season after Ayegbeni Yakubu ruptured an Achilles tendon at the end of November.
Forward James Vaughan has had surgery on a knee injury this campaign while defender Nuno Valente has been out with a similar problem since August.
Besides those, striker Louis Saha has been plagued by hamstring trouble which has restricted him to 14 matches this season, while midfielder Marouane Fellaini is playing with a cracked bone in his back.
Midfielders Steven Pienaar (hamstring) and Leon Osman (stomach strain) have both missed recent games while forward Victor Anichebe was injured by a horror tackle from Kevin Nolan against Newcastle yesterday.
Incredibly Everton have managed to maintain sixth place in the Barclays Premier League in spite of these problems but Moyes' hopes of catching Arsenal, one place and four points above them, have been dented by the loss of Arteta.