West Ham left-back Aaron Cresswell could “easily” be out for more than six weeks if he has fractured his back.
That is the view of injury expert Ben Dinnery, who runs the Premier Injuries site and has a background in medicine and data analysis.
Cresswell, 32, has not featured for the Hammers since colliding with the post in the 3-2 defeat to Man City on 28 November.
Manager David Moyes had originally said Cresswell’s back had gone into spasm but downplayed fears of a long-term lay-off.
But speaking on the West Ham Way podcast on Monday (27 December), ExWHUemployee said: “There were scans and the bone has been chipped.”
Dinnery suggests that the prognosis could indeed be worse than originally feared.
“It was quite a while ago that he picked up this injury,” he told Football Insider‘s Adam Williams.
“At first, David Moyes flagged that there had been a spasm in his back. Initial reports suggested that there wasn’t anything too sinister going on there.
“We thought it’d be a quick turnaround, maybe seven to 10 days. We heard Moyes say on one more than one occasion that he is training and is close to a first-team return.
“But lo and behold, he hasn’t been anywhere near that first team. The latest reports indicated that they have identified a small fracture in that back.
“That’s what’s causing the pain and inhibiting his process. To give a little bit of context, it could be one of the ribs. It’s not like a back-breaking injury.
“With that said, I think we’re looking at four to six weeks depending on how it heals. But it could easily go beyond that.”
Cresswell has scored once and provided four assists in 18 appeerances this term.
Ben Johnson and Arthur Masuaku have filled in during the three-cap England man’s absence.