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Everton upbeat over Pienaar injury progress

Everton have issued an optimistic yet cautious update regarding the fitness of Steven Pienaar after the midfielder suffered a painful knee injury at the weekend.

Fears were heightened after Pienaar suffered the blow during Saturday's 1-0 win over Portsmouth given that Everton are already treating Phil Neville, Phil Jagielka, Mikel Arteta and Victor Anichebe for long-term knee problems.

The club are keeping a constant watch on Pienaar's progress and although a prognosis has been difficult to obtain due to pain around the injury, head physio Mick Rathbone is hopeful the player will avoid surgery and will be back in action soon.

"There's no timescale at the moment but hopefully it will only be something short term," Rathbone told the club's official website. "Steven took an almighty knock on the inside of the knee, so he is pretty sore.

"Me and the doctor had a good look at him after we flew back from the game at Portsmouth. Then we had another good look at him yesterday and again today. It has slightly improved but it is still very, very sore to touch. There's a lot of bruising and a lot of swelling around the area, so we've got him on crutches at the moment.

"It looks like it is just bruised but I am hesitating because it is so hard to examine the knee. We have looked at the film to see what happened and how it is today and we are pretty confident it is okay. But it is badly bruised and it's pretty sore, as you can imagine."

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