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Sep, 14, 2009

Everton rocked by injury blow to captain Neville

Phil Neville is facing up to a "lengthy lay-off" after Everton confirmed that their captain suffered knee ligament damage in Sunday's defeat to Fulham.

Neville was stretchered off at Craven Cottage following a challenge from Fulham's Dickson Etuhu that upset Everton manager David Moyes.

Preliminary tests have now confirmed that Neville did suffer knee ligament damage and although further examintations are required, Everton's head physiotherapist, Mick Rathbone, admits the prognosis is gloomy for the 32-year-old.

"An MRI scan on Monday morning has confirmed our fears and it has revealed that Phil has damaged ligaments at the back of his knee," Rathbone told the club's official website.

"He will now rest it for 48 hours to allow the swelling to go down and he will then see a specialist in London before a decision is made on how best to manage the injury.

"It's too early to estimate length of absence but I fear he is certainly facing a lengthy lay-off."

With Johnny Heitinga ineligible and Tony Hibbert injured, Everton have a real selection dilemma at right-back ahead of Thursday's Europa League tie against AEK Athens.

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