Everton defender John Stones's ankle injury requires surgery and will force him to the sideline for 10-14 weeks, manager Roberto Martinez said Thursday.
Stones injured his ankle in the 90th minutes of last Sunday's loss to Manchester United and was taken off the field in a stretcher. He was set to see a specialist this week, with the initial prognosis being a six-to-eight-week absence.
"It’s a clear injury – not a complicated injury," Martinez said. "Obviously, it’s a little bit of a setback because you don’t want to lose any players, but in John’s case we were very worried in the moment that it happened because those injuries can become a little bit difficult to treat.
"But this one is going to be straightforward and we are already counting down the days for him to come back and we’ll make sure he comes back stronger and ready for the final and most important part of the season."
The injury means Stones will likely miss at least eight Premier League matches and possibly as many as 14 games.
Stones, who was on England's roster for its European Championship 2016 qualifiers, will also miss the Three Lions' qualifiers against San Marino on Thursday, Estonia on Oct. 12 and Slovenia on Nov. 15. He was replaced on the roster by Arsenal defender Calum Chambers.
The 20-year-old's likely replacement in Everton's lineup is Sylvain Distin, who has missed the team's last three matches with a thigh injury.
Stones joined Everton on a transfer from Barnsely in January 2013. He signed a new five-year contract extension with the club in early August and has started five games this season.
Everton is currently in 17th place in the Premier League with six points in seven games and next plays Oct. 18 against Aston Villa.
- Ben Estes