Swansea City have been dealt an injury blow after confirming that central defender Kyle Bartley will be out of action for a period of around three months following knee surgery.
Bartley, who returned to the club in the summer after spending last season on loan with Leeds, had started the Premier League defeat against Manchester United but was stretchered from the field after landing awkwardly in the Carabao Cup clash with MK Dons a few days later.
The club explained that Bartley was initially expected to miss between six and eight weeks of action, with the surgery now taking his anticipated recovery time to 12 weeks.
"We were disappointed to lose Kyle. He has now had surgery and we expect him to be out for around 12 weeks. The period of 12 weeks is an estimate, and we will have to see how Kyle responds to his rehabilitation," manager Paul Clement commented.
The news will come as a particular blow to Bartley himself. The 26-year-old has always been seen as a back-up until recently and has therefore only played sparingly for the Swans in the Premier League since joining from Arsenal in 2012.
Following the loan exit of Jordi Amat and the arrival of no new senior centre-backs in the summer transfer window, this season was his chance to kick on and finally establish himself.
Instead, the opportunity will go to 2016 signing Mike van der Hoorn, who impressed during the 70 minutes he played as part of a back three alongside Alfie Mawson and Federico Fernandez in the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace immediately prior to the international break.