Everton have suffered a major blow with the news Leighton Baines will be out for at least three months following surgery on his injured left ankle.
England left-back Baines was hurt in training on the eve of the Premier League season, with manager Roberto Martinez revealing the 30-year-old had suffered an injury to the same area he had previously been operated on in May.
A lay-off of around a month had been anticipated, but Everton confirmed on Thursday that the scenario is worse than first feared.
“Left-back Leighton Baines has undergone a successful ankle operation but is set to be missing for the next 12 to 14 weeks,” read a club statement.
“The 30-year-old required surgery to correct the problem he sustained in training on the eve of the Premier League campaign and the injury has now been repaired.
“However, the England international faces a period of rehabilitation before he can return to first-team action and will sit out at least the next three months.”
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