Newcastle boss Chris Hughton has spoken of his devastation at the loss of flying winger Hatem Ben Arfa with a double leg fracture just four games into his career in England.
The 23-year-old France international on Monday morning underwent a successful operation to repair the damage at Manchester Royal Infirmary. Ben Arfa suffered fractures to the tibia and fibula of his left leg in a challenge by Nigel de Jong in a 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat at Manchester City.
"I am absolutely devastated for Hatem. To get injured at any time is bad enough, but to suffer such an horrendous injury as a double leg break is sickening for the lad," said Hughton. "After playing only a handful of games for us, scoring a cracking goal at Everton and doing fantastically well, it's a cruel and devastating blow for Hatem, and for the club as a whole."
He added: "All the lads are devastated for him as well. I know many of them have already been in touch with him to check he's doing okay, and that's great.
"On the plus side, I am delighted to hear from the hospital that the operation was successful and now it's just a case of nursing him back to fitness.
"Hatem's a smashing lad with great character and bags of determination, and with the help of our medical team and backroom staff, I am sure he will make a full and speedy recovery.
"I will be visiting Hatem later. 'Get well soon' is the message from everyone at the club."
Ben Arfa, who joined the Magpies on loan from Marseille during the summer with a view to completing a permanent move, has vowed to bounce back from the setback, although it is not yet known for how long he will be sidelined.
He told the Evening Chronicle: "I will be back. I will be working hard to play again in a black and white shirt.
"It will be a long road back, but I have to stay positive."
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