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By ESPN Staff

Arteta heads to Spain for knee operation

Everton's Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta will return to his homeland next week to undergo surgery on the ruptured cruciate ligament in his right knee which has ended his season.

EVERTON'S CASUALTY LIST

Mikel Arteta (knee) - A ruptured knee ligament has ruled the Spanish midfielder out for the rest of the season. Expected return: Late summer

Ayegbeni Yakubu (Achilles) - The striker was injured at the end of November and is not expected to be available again until the start of next season. Expected return: Summer

Victor Anichebe (shin/knee) - An over-the-top tackle by Newcastle's Kevin Nolan forced the forward off on Sunday but further assessment is required before determining how bad his injury is. Expected return: Unknown.

Leon Osman (stomach strain) - The midfielder has missed two matches but is due a return to action very soon. Expected return: This week

Steven Pienaar (hamstring) - Another midfield absentee, having sat out three matches, although he too is nearing a comeback. Expected return: This week

James Vaughan (knee) - The striker, who had injury problems last season, played his last match in mid-November and has since undergone surgery. Expected return: Mid-March

Nuno Valente (knee) - A knee injury to Portuguese defender has meant he has been sidelined since August. Expected return: Mid-March

The playmaker, 27 next month, is set to travel to Barcelona for the operation with the Toffees hoping he will be fit to return in six months' time.

"We use three surgeons - the best in Britain, the best in Europe and the best in America," said head physio Mick Rathbone.

"Clearly it suits Mikel to use the Spanish guy and he is very happy with the choice.

"We're looking at him being out for about six months. We don't want to hurry Mikel."

Arteta was carried off just a few minutes into Sunday's goalless draw at Newcastle and was told the bad news even before a thorough medical examination confirmed the worst.

"We weren't actually waiting on the scan because we knew instantly what he had done," said Rathbone.

"I said to the doctor straight away: 'That's a cruciate'.

"When he came off the pitch I spoke to Mikel and said: 'Sorry mate, but this is a bad injury,' but he knew anyway. He's not daft, he a very smart guy

"Mikel's very down, but he's a mature guy, he's a top sportsman and he knows that one of the hazards of being a top class sportsman is that you get injured.

"He is somewhat philosophical and is already talking about getting back playing next season.

"So we don't wallow in it, it's football, it happens. We just need to get it operated on and get him back."

Rathbone was more optimistic about the prognosis for forward Victor Anichebe, who was injured by a horror tackle from Kevin Nolan which saw the Newcastle midfielder shown a straight red card.

"Victor is extremely sore all up his shin, the outside of his ankle and his knee," the physio, who is still awaiting the results of the scan, said.

"The shin is badly bruised obviously, it's swollen as well. Our concern is with the knee really.

"We think he's okay - you never know - but I think he's just about got away with it.

"He bent his knee so the strain came on the outside of the knee. It was difficult. There was no obvious significant injury to the shin."

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