Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick sidelined by ankle surgery
Bournemouth defender Tommy Elphick will be out of action for at least the next eight weeks after undergoing surgery on an ankle injury.
The club captain travelled to Sweden to see a specialist known for his work with Zlatan Ibrahimovic after experiencing discomfort following a routine challenge in training.
Having initially been given a positive diagnosis it was hoped he would swiftly return, but the discomfort remained and he has since been operated on in an attempt to cure his condition.
"Tommy's had an operation on his ankle so he's facing around 10 weeks out," said Cherries manager Eddie Howe of the defender.
"It was innocuous really. It was a kick on the ankle and, despite many attempts to come back, it just didn't feel right.
"With further investigation it was discovered that he needed an operation.
"He's had it, he's two weeks in. Ten weeks is the estimate (recovery time) but it could be longer than that."
Elphick's injury is just the latest to undermine Howe's plans in an already difficult start to the season.
Callum Wilson, Tyrone Mings and Max Gradel - three important players, the latter two the most expensive signings in the club's history - are unlikely to play again in 2015/16 after each suffered anterior cruciate ligament injuries.
Howe has revealed, however, that Wilson - the most recent of the trio to be injured - has so far responded positively to surgery, and that he expects his squad to be strengthened by the imminent return of Harry Arter from a groin problem after the midfielder played for Bournemouth's Under-21s against Colchester on Monday.
"Callum's had the surgery on his knee," Howe said. "He's in a good form, he's a very positive guy, he's got a great mentality.
"When he's playing, when he's injured, it doesn't really change, so he's now focusing on his rehab and coming back stronger than ever. Although he now faces a long recovery time, he's in good mental shape.
"It went as well as can be expected. Those types of injuries, going back 10, 15 years, were a lot bigger operations than they are now, so the surgeon was very happy.
"(It's also) really positive to get Harry back, first and foremost, on the pitch. He enjoyed the game, every player enjoys playing when they haven't played for so long.
"He will need more training time, more game time - that's me, in an ideal world - sometimes you don't know what happens and whether you're forced to put players in before you want to, but at the moment I'd say another week or possibly longer before he's considered for selection."