Fulham striker Moussa Dembele will be out for only two to three weeks, manager Mark Hughes confirmed this morning.
Dembele was carried off following an injury-time tackle by Stoke defender Andy Wilkinson in Tuesday night’s 2-0 Carling Cup defeat at the Britannia Stadium.
Hughes was furious with the challenge, which he branded “absolutely ridiculous”, and initially feared the £5m (€5.9m) summer signing from AZ Alkmaar had broken his leg.
But a scan revealed that Belgium international Dembele, who has scored three goals this season in a fine start to life at Craven Cottage, had sustained only minor ankle ligament damage.
“Moussa had a scan after the initial impact of the injury had settled down,” said Hughes. “At the moment it looks like he’ll be out for two to three weeks. He should be fit and well after the international break.
“The challenge was unnecessary and we’re thankful the injury isn’t more serious than it is. At the time I was extremely angry and made my feelings known. We’ve been really pleased with what Dembele has produced and he’s been a big reason behind the positive start we’ve had.
“Not to have him available because of a tackle so late in the game is frustrating for everybody.”
Dembele’s injury leaves Fulham with a striker crisis for tomorrow’s Barclays Premier League clash with Everton.
Bobby Zamora is out for five months with a broken leg while Andrew Johnson is still around three weeks away from a return to first-team action after recovering from a knee problem.
Two of Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson and Zoltan Gera will form the attack against Everton.