Fulham boss Mark Hughes was left ruing the likely loss of Bobby Zamora for at least four months after the striker suffered a broken ankle during the 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Zamora's injury took the gloss off a hard-earned three points for the Cottagers, who came from behind to secure the win courtesy of two goals from summer signing Moussa Dembele.
The injury blow was cruel on Zamora, who had begun to work his way into England manager Fabio Capello's plans and on Friday celebrated signing a new four-year deal with Fulham.
The 29-year-old was stretchered off at Craven Cottage, and now faces a nervous wait to discover the full extent of his injury.
"If the injury is as we think it is, it's likely to be four months," Hughes said yesterday. "If the surgeon goes in tomorrow and finds other damage rather than just the break, which is four centimetres above his ankle, it will be even longer than that. The four months looks like a minimum."
Hughes acknowledged the timing of the injury was particularly hard on Zamora, who has blossomed over the past 12 months after unsuccessful spells with Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United.
"Bobby had got to a point where he was playing at a high level and producing week-in, week-out," said Hughes. "Bobby would be honest enough to admit he hasn't been able to maintain that level of performance over long periods during his career.
"But he's reached that point so to be taken out of top level football for four months is a real disappointment for him and us. I've spoken to him already and he seems to be in good spirits."