Stoke midfielder Stephen Ireland suffered a broken leg in training, the Barclays Premier League club have announced.
Ireland has struggled with various injury problems this season and the 29-year-old is now set for an extended spell on the sidelines.
The details of how the injury occurred remain unclear, other than the club stating that it happened during training on Tuesday morning.
“#SCFC can confirm Stephen Ireland is facing an extended spell on the sidelines after suffering a broken leg in training this morning,” read the official Stoke Twitter account.
“All at #SCFC wish Stephen a speedy recovery and will offer him all the support he requires as he undergoes his rehabilitation.”
Ireland has been hampered by hamstring-related problems for much of this season, making just 16 appearances, and has yet to start a Barclays Premier League match for Mark Hughes’ side. His three starts this campaign have all been in the cup competitions.
The former Manchester City trainee is about to enter the final year of his contract at the Britannia Stadium, but it now remains to be seen how much of that he will be available to play.
It is not the first time Ireland has suffered a serious leg injury. Towards the end of last season he was on the receiving end of a challenge from Hull defender Maynor Figueroa which left him with a deep gash.
After the game Stoke boss Hughes claimed that his player needed “12-15 stitches” in the wound and that Figueroa’s tackle could have ended Ireland’s career.