Crystal Palace are likely to be without the services of arguably their most influential player in Wilfried Zaha for a month, although manager Roy Hodgson could hand a debut to new striker Alexander Sorloth when the relegation battlers travel to face Everton in the Premier League this weekend.
Winger Zaha surprisingly became the latest casualty of a debilitating Eagles injury crisis that has threatened to halt their impressive resurgence during last Sunday's (4 February) 1-1 draw with Newcastle United, with The Guardian reporting that he had been referred to a specialist after undergoing a scan on a knee problem sustained in the first half that did not lead to a substitution.
Initial fears that the Ivory Coast international could miss another two months or potentially even the rest of the season were subsequently allayed, with The Mirror suggesting that his scan results were more positive than expected and that he could be back within six weeks.
Providing an update on the situation during a press conference held before the trip to Everton, Hodgson claimed it was realistic to expect that Zaha will be missing for around one month and bemoaned a worsening injury situation unique to his lengthy managerial career that has seen Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Scott Dann, Jason Puncheon, Bakary Sako, Julian Speroni, Martin Kelly and Jeffrey Schlupp all join long-term absentee Connor Wickham on the sidelines.
"It's amazing Wilf was able to play so much of the game with the injury," he told reporters, as relayed by Sky Sports. "He's a very quick healer and we'll be working to get him back as soon as possible. He won't play against Everton though.
"If he recovered in a week or two it would be a fantastic effort, but it's more realistic we'd have to wait a month for him. It's not certain. He'll be pushing the medical staff to come back as soon as possible. Quite frankly I can't remember a time when I've had this many players injured at a club."
Palace signed three players during the recent January transfer window, with Norwegian international striker Sorloth bought from Danish club FC Midtjylland on deadline day for a reported £9m ($12.5m) fee to follow the arrival of centre-back Jaroslaw Jach from Zaglebie Lubin and the loan capture of Benfica midfielder Erdal Rakip.
While neither of that aforementioned duo have yet to be included in a senior matchday squad, Sorloth remained an unused substitute in the draw with Newcastle that saw a second-half Luka Milivojevic penalty cancel out Mohamed Diame's opening goal, and is ready to be thrown into action against Everton at Goodison Park if required.
"Alexander Sorloth is certainly ready to play and will certainly be involved in the squad again this weekend," added Hodgson, who, per the Evening Standard, confirmed that Chung-Yong Lee now had the chance to step up in the absences of Zaha and Sako after seeing a proposed return to Bolton Wanderers collapse last week.