West Ham midfielder Jack Collison is set to be out of Barclays Premier League action until the new year after undergoing knee surgery.
Collison, 21, never fully recovered from the cartilage damage he suffered last season and he has not played since Wales' 1-0 defeat to Sweden on March 3.
"He had an operation the other day and they told me is going to be out for nine months," said West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola
"I know he is a strong fellow and I am sure he will be quicker than that. I wish him a quick recovery."
Zola's own future remains a matter of fevered speculation - but the man himself will not discuss the issue until his meeting with club owners David Gold and David Sullivan next week.
"I need to focus on the game and then I will talk to the club and we will see what the outcome is going to be. We are going to meet some time next week," said Zola.
"I am a professional person. I am paid by the club to do a job and I try to do it as best I can. I am not going to give any excuses, we should have done better this season. I was expecting more.
"But I have to add that the circumstances and the environment have not been easy and people should remember that when they judge the season.
"I am the manager. I am not trying to justify anything, just telling the truth. I look at the job I have done and I say, yes I should have done better. I don't take defeats very well but it will make me stronger.
"I look into myself and the rest we will talk about after the last match."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.