Bournemouth have been hit by the news ever-present full-back Adam Smith is facing three months on the sidelines after surgery on a knee injury.
The 27-year-old suffered the problem to his right knee when he feigned to take a free-kick during the 2-1 defeat at Newcastle United before the international break on November 10.
It was initially feared that Smith could be out with a season-ending injury, but scans revealed a torn cartilage and he has already undergone an operation to repair the damage.
A club statement on Monday read: “Bournemouth defender Adam Smith will be sidelined for up to three months by a knee injury sustained earlier this month.
“The full-back was stretchered off midway through the first half of the Cherries’ Premier League defeat at Newcastle United.
“However, following extensive medical assessment, Smith’s injury is not as bad as first feared, and on Saturday the 27-year-old underwent a procedure to repair a cartilage tear in his right knee.”
As a result Smith will be absent until around mid-February so will miss a number of key games for Bournemouth, including the Carabao Cup quarter-final at Chelsea on December 19 and their busy Christmas fixture schedule when they face four games in 10 days.
The news will be a blow to boss Eddie Howe as Smith has played in all 12 Premier League matches to date, helping Bournemouth up to sixth place on 20 points.
The Cherries’ first game without Smith is against Arsenal at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday, which they are 3.60 to win, while the Gunners are 2.00 to pick up three points and the draw is 3.60.