Slaven Bilic has provided an update on the fitness of Carl Jenkinson, with the Arsenal loanee having visited a specialist on 28 January to determine the extent of a knee injury sustained during the 2-2 draw with Manchester City last weekend. The right-back, due to remain at Upton Park until May, sustained the problem while giving away an early penalty for a foul on Sergio Aguero and was replaced by new signing Sam Byram just 13 minutes into the match.
Jack Sullivan, son of Hammers co-owner David Sullivan, subsequently took to social media to announce that Jenkinson's injury was far more serious than first thought and would rule him out for the rest of the season. An official release from West Ham later confirmed that the player had indeed suffered a "significant" blow, but stopped short of providing a timeline for his return until they had the issue professionally assessed.
"Well, we don't know," Bilic told reporters at a press conference when asked if Jenkinson's injury would see him return to Arsenal four months ahead of schedule. "We'll have to see, because he has an appointment now with the doctor. With the specialist. So we are waiting for that result.
"We're going to see how bad the injury is. He was really unlucky with that injury. We are still hoping it's not that bad but we are going to see after today's appointment with the doctor what it really is. It's definitely knee but we don't know how bad it is. Based on that, we're going to find the solution that suits everyone."
While Jenkinson's status remains uncertain, Bilic did have more positive news regarding Andy Carroll. The towering striker has not featured since limping out of a 3-1 win at Bournemouth earlier this month with hamstring trouble and while he will not be in contention for the upcoming FA Cup fourth-round tie against Liverpool, he is likely to return to training early next week.
Diafra Sakho is expected to make his comeback within a fortnight after two months out with a thigh issue and Manuel Lanzini will also be available for selection again shortly.
"It's looking good. Not regarding the Liverpool game, but Andy is going to be back playing, let's say, in 10 days. Diafra and Lanzini I think two weeks. It's looking good. They are ahead of schedule and training hard.
"I was here yesterday, we had a day off, but I watched Andy training and he is doing basically everything. He will start, hopefully, to train with us after the Liverpool game. It's going to be Monday or Tuesday. If he trains good, he could be in the squad for next weekend."
Although Byram replaced Jenkinson against Manchester City just days after arriving in a £3.7m ($5.2m) deal from Leeds, he is ineligible to play against Liverpool. The return of versatile defender James Tomkins should help matters, although doubts remain over the availability of Mark Noble after the West Ham captain missed training due to illness.
"Sam Byram, he's cup-tied," Bilic, who confirmed that he will make changes for the trip to Anfield, added. "He played for Leeds so he can't participate in the FA Cup for us. The good thing is that Tomkins is back training today with us. There is only Mark Noble who has a bit of flu. Nothing major, but he stayed home today and hopefully he is going to be OK tomorrow. Apart from that we are good."