West Ham's Jack Collison may have to seek external help to solve an ongoing knee injury, with manager Sam Allardyce admitting that the issue is becoming a real "concern".
The Welsh midfielder has yet to play a single minute this campaign after an old injury was aggravated in last season's gruelling run to the play-offs.
"It's a concern to us and we would hope we're not looking at anything other than him recovering to start training and playing," Allardyce said. "If that doesn't happen very soon then our medical staff will have to seek somebody else's advice as to what we can do."
As regards when that cut-off point would be, Allardyce stated "very soon now". He also revealed how Collison's knee will now never again be a "100%" and that he may have to manage it in a similar, if less extreme, way to Paul McGrath and Ledley King for the rest of his career.
"It's from the old injury he had. He has a problem that's going to stay with him for the rest of his career and he manages it brilliantly but there are times when it gets a lot of fluid in there. If the fluid goes in, he's not available for training again.
"That knee, for Jack, is never going to be 100% so he has to do a management job. It's not as drastic as Paul McGrath in the past or Ledley King, but it's similar."
Allardyce also admitted that, ultimately, Collison was paying a price for his commitment last season.
"I suppose the answer to that is yes, probably. But, you know, we thought it would be OK, he thought it would be OK. At that particular time, he had no real problems with the knee. Perhaps it was the excitement and the adrenaline of the games we were playing and he has such a strong mental state that it didn't appear to be problem.
"[But] once it's all over and the body relaxes and the mind relaxes, then the body starts to feel its aches and pains and the fluid around the knee. We've had a lot of trouble overcoming that.
"He's not training with us yet. He's training every day with our sports science department and hopefully starts getting involved with us and playing with the ball again next week.
"He's gutted obviously. He's almost like the forgotten man, isn't he? I say to him you should tell these players how lucky they are, they [should] come and do a week with you, on your own with the sports science lads.
!How devastating that is when you see the rest of the team going away and playing in the Premier League again. And him being a major part of us playing there last year and not being involved. There can't be anything more soul-destroying for a player than that."