West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola is uncertain whether Scott Parker will play again this season due to the midfielder's chronic groin problem.
Parker, 28, has been out for more than a month with the complaint but Zola is hopeful the former Newcastle player will not require surgery to correct the injury.
"I don't know if he will play again this season to be honest," Zola said. "He is working very hard on his fitness so that he can play again this season but it is unsure whether he can."
Zola had a similar injury during his playing career and he has offered Parker, who played a key role in the club's revival this season, advice on how to manage it.
"The problem is he has a chronic inflammation in the groin and this has caused him problems, it is as simple as that," Zola said.
"I have had the same problem he has now many years ago. It is tough because one day you feel okay and the day after you feel bad.
"Then maybe in five or six days it might be better. I am not worried and I am sure he will get over this. I'm just a bit disappointed as he's one of our key players and obviously to be missing him at this part of the season is no good for us."
Zola is confident Parker will eventually be playing normally and it is not a problem he will carry for the rest of his career.
"Once I sorted it out I never had problems again with that," Zola said. "I gave Scott all my knowledge about it, but everyone is taking care of him. You have to be patient and keep working until he gets over it."
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