Newcastle manager Alan Pardew fears Alan Smith could be out for the season with the ankle injury he sustained in last weekend's derby against Sunderland.
The midfielder has had a scan on the joint and complications from a previous injury mean his absence is likely to be far longer than first thought.
Pardew said: "It's sad news for Alan because it's an ankle he's had problems with and we think he'll probably be out for the rest of the season."
He added: "Because he's had a dislocation and a break on that ankle before, when you get a heavy blow like he did it's a very low recovery rate."
Pardew is also likely to be without striker Andy Carroll for another two or three weeks while Dan Gosling has suffered a setback in his recovery from a serious knee injury.
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