Manuel Pellegrini has revealed that star man Marko Arnautovic missed West Ham's 1-0 defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday due to illness.
The Austrian originally meant to start the game against the league champions but was later withdrawn from the squad for an unknown reason.
Former City boss Pellegrini replaced Arnautovic by giving Andy Carroll a rare chance up front, handing him the captain's armband as well.
Arnautovic was subject to massive speculation over a rumoured move to the Chinese Super League in January but remained in London with the Hammers. However, he has not been able to get into the starting lineup since his January drama, suffering numerous injuries.
This was the case against City too, with Hammers boss Pellegrini explaining why the forward did not feature at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.
The Daily Star quoted Pellegrini saying: "It was unfortunate Marko woke up ill with fever because we wanted to have three fast players up front, but we couldn't."
Arnautovic has only completed 90 mins once in the last 15 games. Injuries, illness and China transfer spec has derailed his season with just 34% of gametime for this period. We could really do with him for the final 10 games to keep pushing for 7th.— Mills ⚒ (@gtmills) February 28, 2019
Many fans were suggesting the Austria international missed the game due to the Chinese transfer window closing the next day, but these rumours were swiftly shot down by the West Ham manager.
West Ham battled well on Wednesday, eventually losing out to Sergio Aguero's 59th minute penalty after Bernardo Silva was adjudged to have been brought down by Felipe Anderson.
In better news for Pellegrini, Lanzini stepped up his return from injury with a cameo in the second half, coming on just after the half-time interval for Samir Nasri, and came through unscathed.