LIVERPOOL -- Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar is facing another three weeks on the sidelines as he recovers from a knee injury.
The former South Africa captain has been out of action since limping off during the 4-1 FA Cup quarterfinal defeat at Arsenal on Mar. 8.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez will take a late fitness check on captain Phil Jagielka ahead of Saturday’s Premier League home game against Swansea, but will definitely be without Pienaar as they continue their push for European qualification.
Centre-back Jagielka has missed Everton’s last three matches with a hamstring problem.
"Stevie P has a knock in his knee and that’s going to take a bit of time, but Phil Jagielka is 50-50 for the weekend," Martinez said.
Asked when he thought Pienaar would be ready to return, the manager added: "It’s hard to tell now. He had a knock on his knee and his cartilage was affected, so we’re going to make sure he gets the right treatment.
"I expect the term is probably going to be two or three weeks, and then we’ll see how well he recovers.
"It’s important that he’s back before the season ends. He’s a vital player for us. So we’ll make sure that he comes back as string as he can be.
"It is a blow. Any injury is a blow. But we’re not the type of team who want to highlight the players who are missing. It’s the opposite.
"When you’ve got a player who is injured, you need to make sure that you give them the best possible treatment.
"But it becomes a great opportunity for someone else in the squad."
Everton, meanwhile, have extended their shirt sponsorship deal with Thai beer company Chang for a further three years, in a deal worth 16 million pounds.
The company has sponsored Everton’s shirts since 2004.