Mikel Merino will miss Newcastle's Saturday afternoon match against Bournemouth and could be ruled out for many more weeks since he has reportedly picked up a serious back injury.
The ex-Borussia Dortmund midfielder, who has become the supporters' favourite since arriving at St James Park during this season, was sidelined last week during Newcastle's defeat to Burnley.
After the Turf Moor match, manager Rafa Benitez did not know much about Merino's condition, as he was only able to say: "We have to wait to see. He’ll see a specialist and we’ll see how he feels."
However, although initially his injury did not seem so alarming, the Shields Gazette has now confirmed that the Spaniard might be needing more time to regain fitness than expected.
The report claims that he will run meds during the week but certainly won't be featured this weekend for Newcastle's clash with the Cherries.
Luckily for him, the upcoming Premier League round will be followed by a two-week international break that will allow Merino to recover as much as possible in order to return for the Magpies' away game against Manchester United.
The midfielder arrived on a loan from the Bundesliga this year, but his positive performances - he scored once in nine appearances - made him the club's new hero, and Newcastle were quick to secure him with a five-year contract.
Rafa Benitez will, therefore, need to find a substitute while Merino recovers: this would be a big chance for ex-Arsenal midfielder Isaac Hayden to mark his 50th appearance with Newcastle and is keen on playing.