Arsene Wenger admits he is "devastated" at the news that Tomas Rosicky could be out for a month with a groin injury.
Wenger had to withdraw the Czech Republic midfielder halfway through his side's 2-0 Barclays Premier League win over Stoke and is now facing up to the fact he could be without the £6.7million player for up to a month.
"He's devastated and I am as well," Wenger said. "Before the (Stoke) match I told myself 'he has played the whole game on Wednesday, should I take the gamble or not as it was such an important game?'. But by half-time he was struggling."
The former Borussia Dortmund midfielder spent 18 months on the sidelines before making his comeback from a series of hamstring and knee injuries against Manchester City in September.
Wenger also had to do without Croatia striker Eduardo for 18 months after he broke his leg in a horrific tackle by Birmingham's Martin Taylor in 2008.
The 26-year-old took time to regain his full fitness following the injury and Wenger believes Rosicky is having the same problem.
"It's a vicious circle when you have been out for a long time. Eduardo had not played for 18 months, Tomas has not played for 18 months," the 60-year-old said.
"When you come back, one or two games, your body has to get used to producing the energy levels again and it's difficult. Nobody masters that.
"The first impression for me is that it won't be longer than a month but it's a groin problem so we have to see the scan in 48 hours which grade it is - grade one is 10 days but grade 3 is three."
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