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By ESPN Staff

Everton optimistic over Vaughan after severed artery

Everton believe James Vaughan will play again this season.

The 18-year-old striker was taken to hospital on Monday after suffering a severed artery in his ankle after being caught by the studs of Abdoulaye Meite in the 1-1 draw with Bolton.

Vaughan was discharged from hospital later in the evening, amid fears that his season was over.

The Birmingham-born youngster became Everton's youngest ever player and goalscorer two years ago but was then ruled out for 14 months with a serious knee injury.

Everton physio Mick Rathbone said: 'We are cautiously optimistic he will be back playing within the next three to four weeks.'

Vaughan had stitches in the wound but has now been told by a consultant that the artery should be left to heal naturally.

Rathbone added: 'The cut didn't look too bad but there was a lot of blood so he went to hospital.

'He wasn't happy about coming off the park but it would have been a dereliction of duty on my behalf to let him carry on with the amount of blood around the wound.'

Everton skipper Phil Neville said: 'Our hearts were in our mouths when it happened.

'Andy Johnson signalled for a stretcher straight away and even Alan Stubbs could see there was a lot of blood from where he was.

'Touch wood he will soon be fine.

'At this stage of the season you need fresh players and that's what he is. He could be the key for us.'

Neville was the victim of what looked a nasty tackle from El-Hadji Diouf during the match but diplomatically said: 'I would call it a forward's tackle.

'It was sore at the time but I know him quite well. There was no malice.

'This is football and when you receive a tackle like that, it is easy to come out moaning. The referee dealt with it and you have to get on with it.'