Everton captain Phil Neville will be sidelined for up to two months after the midfielder was forced to undergo knee surgery.
Toffees boss David Moyes revealed after his side's 2-1 defeat at Reading on Saturday that Neville had the operation on Friday.
The 35-year-old former Manchester United star will miss a host of crucial matches, including fixtures against Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham, as Everton try to push for a top-four finish in the Premier League.
Moyes admitted Neville's influence was badly missed as previously win-less Reading recovered from a goal down to beat Everton at the Madejski Stadium. "He [Neville] had an operation on his knee yesterday that could keep him out for six to eight weeks," Moyes said.
"His leadership was missed but we were missing quite a lot of senior players today and you could see that by our bench. Thomas Hitzlsperger did OK, not too bad."