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Everton and England defender Leighton Baines could miss up six weeks with a fractured toe, the club has confirmed.
However, the Blues also say the left-back could return inside a fortnight depending on the nature of the 28-year-old’s injury.
Goodison Park chief Roberto Martinez said: “Leighton has got a fracture in one of the bones in his right foot.
“It could mean anything from missing six weeks to being back in 10 days. It depends how the fracture heals.
“It’s in such a specific spot and we’re going to see how [the injury] reacts. We need to see how it develops.”
Baines is now set to sit out Saturday’s home Premier League clash against Stoke City and also the trip to reigning champions Manchester United on Wednesday, December 4.
Should the former Wigan man’s recovery prove to be closer to 10 days then there is a chance he could be back for the game at Arsenal on December 8.
A longer lay-off of closer to six weeks would mean Baines sitting out the rest of the calendar year and possibly not being back until the third round of the FA Cup in January.
The injury has come at a bad time for Baines in a World Cup year while Everton will miss him as they look to build on a solid start to the season that has seen the side lose only one game in their opening 12 matches.
The 28-year-old suffered the problem in the pulsating 3-3 derby draw with Liverpool at the weekend and was forced off after 50 minutes of play at Goodison Park.