The Blackburn Rovers midfielder Steven Reid could be out of action for another four months, after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower back.
Reid, who has spent the last six weeks out, initially sustained the problem in the Republic of Ireland's 1-0 Euro 2008 qualifying defeat by Germany in Stuttgart on 2 September. A scan followed, as did a visit to a chiropractor as the club and Reid attempted to resolve the issue that showed no sign of healing.
That resulted in Reid requiring a second scan which picked up the injury, one that means he is unlikely to return until mid-February
The 25-year-old concedes to being "devastated" by the news, but at least there is hope on the horizon for the player as his girlfriend, Kathleen, is expecting a baby in seven weeks' time. By then Reid hopes to be out of the immobilising back brace that is to be fitted on Friday. Rest is the only cure.
"The last few weeks have been really frustrating," Reid said. "I've been pulled and twisted all over the place in recent weeks in the hope of sorting out the injury. But then last week I had another scan and it showed up the stress fracture which means six to eight weeks of total rest followed by six to eight weeks of getting my fitness back.
"I'm totally gutted and devastated by all of this because this is the biggest injury of my career to date. But at least we now know what the problem is. Fingers crossed I can play again as soon as possible.
"Once the brace is fitted I'm going to head down to London to stay with my family so they can look after me for a while. Kathleen and I have the birth of our first child to look forward to as well, which is keeping my spirits up at the moment."
Reid faces a further scan on 21 November, which "will determine if the stress fracture is healing, or whether I need more time."
Reid is hoping Rovers make it through the group stage of the Uefa Cup, which starts tomorrow with a trip to Poland to face Wisla Krakow. "I'm keeping fingers crossed they qualify for the knock-out phase because I'd like to play my part next year," said Reid.
Blackburn's manager, Mark Hughes, spoke of his disappointment at losing Reid over the next few months. Hughes said: "We were looking forward to welcoming him back but he is going to be out for a significant amount of time. It is a real blow for him and us but we have to get on with it. We have options and I am not too concerned about the numbers we have available.
"The injury Steven suffered seemed to drag on and on but now he will be given the appropriate treatment. It is disappointing as Steven looked really strong in pre-season and this is a set-back for him."
Another player suffering on the sidelines is Fulham's Jimmy Bullard, who is prepared to sit out the remainder of the season after visiting the leading specialist Dr Richard Steadman about his knee injury.
The 27-year-old Fulham midfielder suffered serious ligament damage following a challenge from Scott Parker in last month's victory over Newcastle. He flew to the United States for treatment by Dr Steadman, who is based in Colorado, and has successfully treated the likes of Alan Shearer and Michael Owen in the past.
Asked if he has hopes of being back before May, the summer signing from Wigan said: "If it happens, great. But I'm just looking to get back fully fit. In my head, I'm just looking to get back next season really."
He added: "I went to Dr Steadman. He gave me so much belief that I'm going to be back. The main thing is I just want to play again and he's put it in my head I definitely will so that's all I'm looking forward to."Reuse content