Arsenal loanee Carl Jenkinson may have played his last match for West Ham United after suffering what the Hammers have described as a "significant" knee injury. The right-back picked up the problem when fouling Sergio Aguero to concede a ninth-minute penalty that cancelled out Enner Valencia's opener during the 2-2 draw with Manchester City on 23 January.
The player's subsequent withdrawal led to an early Hammers debut for Sam Byram, who only arrived in East London last week after completing a £3.7m ($5.2m) switch from Championship side Leeds United. Slaven Bilic had already confirmed that such a deal had been struck with next season in mind after he was informed by Jenkinson's parent club that this would be his last campaign at Upton Park.
"West Ham United can confirm that Carl Jenkinson injured his left knee during the early stages of the Premier League fixture with Manchester City," West Ham confirmed in an official update.
"Unfortunately, it appears that Carl has suffered a significant injury and he will be assessed by a specialist in Central London on Wednesday. A further update will be provided when the full extent of the injury has been confirmed."
While West Ham appear to be waiting on those specialist results before determining how long Jenkinson will be out of action, Jack Sullivan, son of co-owner David Sullivan, pre-empted that announcement on social media by revealing that the extent of the injury is considerably worse than first anticipated and will rule the Arsenal star out for the rest of the season.
"Carl Jenkinson's injury is far more serious than we thought and he is out for the rest of the season," he said on Twitter. "We wish Carl the speediest of recoveries."
Having impressed during a season-long loan stint in 2014/15, Jenkinson returned to West Ham last July immediately after signing a new long-term contract with Arsenal. Although not quite as influential this term, he still made a further 23 appearances before this latest setback.
Presuming that his time at West Ham is indeed now over, it remains to be seen what the future holds for the 23-year-old at Arsenal. While Hector Bellerin has firmly established himself as Arsene Wenger's first-choice right-back, primary deputy Mathieu Debuchy is eager to depart before the end of the January transfer window after becoming frustrated with a lack of first-team football over recent months, which has led to him losing his place in Didier Deschamps' France squad ahead of Euro 2016. Wenger can also call upon the versatile Calum Chambers in that position if required.