Jose Fonte will be out of action for West Ham United for ‘two or three months’ after injuring himself in last weekend’s draw at Crystal Palace.
The centre-half limped out of the clash at Selhurst Park after 76 minutes with a foot problem and will not feature again this year.
Taking to Instagram to confirm the news, Fonte added that the injury had been ‘difficult to digest’ but that he was ‘already focused on a quick recovery’.
The absence of the 33-year-old could not have come at a worse time for manager Slaven Bilic, who is already without one experienced central defender in James Collins.
The Welshman has been missing since mid-September with an ankle issue and has recently announced his retirement from international football in an effort to prolong his club career.
That leaves Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna and Declan Rice as Bilic’s only recognised centre-backs, although Cheikhou Kouyate has filled in there on occasion.
West Ham have struggled for consistency so far this season, picking up two wins, three draws and five defeats from their opening 10 Premier League matches of the campaign.
That record would have looked better had the Irons not thrown away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Palace last Saturday.
A penalty from Luka Milivojevic and a Wilfried Zaha strike with the last kick of the game left the scores tied after Javier Hernandez and Andre Ayew had put the visitors in the driving seat early on.
The Hammers will be aiming to get back to winning ways when Liverpool visit the London Stadium on Saturday evening.