Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn suffered an ankle fracture during Saturday’s Premier League defeat to Southampton, the club have announced.
McGinn was forced off after just eight minutes after appearing to get his studs caught in the turf.
Villa boss Dean Smith confirmed after the match that the Scotland midfielder had been sent for an X-ray, with the club confirming the extent of the damage on Sunday.
McGinn has been a key figure for Villa on their return to the Premier League this season, scoring three times, and his absence will add to Smith’s concerns after a poor run of form.
They have won just once in their last nine top-flight outings, losing the last four, and the 3-1 defeat to Southampton saw them slip into the relegation zone.
Villa are yet to confirm how long they expect the 25-year-old to be sidelined for, but according to reports he is set to be out for three months.
He will certainly miss a number of key games in the battle to beat the drop. Villa face Norwich and Watford, the other two sides in the bottom three, in their next two matches, while they face the likes of Brighton and Watford again in January.
McGinn tweeted: “Thanks everyone for all the messages and support. Gutted but will be back before you know it.”
Depending on how his recovery progresses, McGinn could also face a race to be fit for Scotland’s Euro 2020 qualifying play-off against Israel on March 26.
His absence would be a huge blow as he was his country’s top scorer in their qualifying group with seven goals, including six in his last three games.
In a statement issued to PA news agency, Scotland boss Steve Clarke said: “I feel for John because he’s in such a rich vein of form for club and country and obviously all of us at the Scotland national team wish him a speedy recovery.
“The most important thing right now is that he follows the club’s rehabilitation programme and we will see how he is come the end of March.”
In-form Danny Ings scored two of Southampton’s goals in Saturday’s game and hailed a vital win for his side as they moved out of the drop zone.
Jack Stephens also netted and, while Jack Grealish’s fine strike pulled a goal back, Southampton deservedly claimed the points.
Ings, who has now scored 12 goals in his last 13 games, said on the club website: “It’s massive. We knew how important it was to come here, put in a big performance and get the points.
“I thought we did that. Take the goals out of the equation, the lads defended unbelievably well – you could see when the crowd were up and their team were building momentum, we shut that out quite well.
“Credit to everybody off the ball, because that was just as important as scoring the goals.
“Our defence, the midfield and Longy (Shane Long) working his socks off again…it means so much to the team. It’s so important that we have that side as well as the quality on the ball.”