London - Everton and England defender John Stones could be sidelined for nearly four months after the Premier League club announced Thursday he needed an ankle surgery.
The 20-year-old withdrew from the England squad for this week's Euro 2016 qualifiers with San Marino and Estonia after he was carried off on a stretcher during Everton's defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Stones has since been told he needs an operation and will not be able to play again until the new year at the earliest.
"Roberto Martinez has revealed that John Stones' injury requires surgery and expects the defender to be out for 10-14 weeks," said a statement on evertonfc.com.
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Everton manager Martinez said the good news was that there were no further complications.
"John will need surgery, which will give us a perfect recovery for his left ankle," Martinez explained.
"We expect him to be out for probably the next 10 to 14 weeks depending on how everything goes," the Spaniard added.
"It's a clear injury, not a complicated injury. Obviously, it's a little bit of a setback because you don't want to lose any players, but in John's case we were very worried in the moment that it happened because those injuries can become a little bit difficult to treat.
"But this one is going to be straightforward and we are already counting down the days for him to come back and we'll make sure he comes back stronger and ready for the final and most important part of the season."
Everton are just a two points above the relegation zone and injuries are mounting for the Merseysiders with centre-half Sylvain Distin, full-back Seamus Coleman and forward Kevin Mirallas all currently sidelined.
Midfielders James McCarthy and Ross Barkley are also out of action at the moment while striker Arouna Kone has yet to feature in a matchday squad after a knee operation last October.