Darron Gibson is hopeful that he can avoid a summer thigh operation as he bids to help Everton qualify for Europe.
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The midfielder is soldiering on with a problem that has forced him to miss 17 games this season. Manager David Moyes indicated ahead of Saturday's 3-1 Premier League win over Reading that Gibson would need surgery to sort out the injury, which he picked up early in the season.
The 25-year-old tore his thigh muscle during a 2-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion on September 1, and did not return to action until late November.
His injury then flared up again over Christmas, causing him to miss a further month, but has managed to play in all of Everton's matches since the end of January.
Moyes has admitted a concern that the midfielder could break down at any moment, and had considered sending him for an operation before the end of the season.
But for now, the manager is prepared to risk the player he signed from Manchester United in January 2012 in a bid to give his side a push towards Europe.
And Gibson told the Liverpool Echo: "Fingers crossed it won't need an operation in the summer. I don't really want to talk about it too much. I'm just managing it at the minute. I'm happy enough. I'm comfortable playing."
The midfielder was happier to talk about the return to form of Kevin Mirallas, who has overcome his own injury problems to give Everton a boost in league and cup.
Mirallas, a £5.3 million summer signing from Greek champions Olympiacos, managed only 45 minutes of football between November 10 and January 21 because of a hamstring injury.
But the Belgium international scored his first Everton goal since mid-September as League One side Oldham were beaten 3-1 in an FA Cup fifth-round replay last Tuesday, and followed it up with another against Reading on Saturday.
Gibson said: "Everyone knows Kevin is a good player. It's been difficult for him but he's starting to find his feet now.
"If he can keep playing that well for the remaining games of the season he'll play a big part. He's a flair player. He likes to get on the ball, dribble and shoot."