STEVEN Fletcher’s absence might be measured in terms of months rather than weeks, after the Sunderland striker dislocated his shoulder at West Brom on Saturday.
Last season’s leading scorer went to hospital for treatment after being injured in the second half of the Black Cats’ 3-0 defeat to the Baggies.
After the game, Paolo Di Canio confirmed that the injury was a massive blow.
“Fletcher’s injury is a problem,” sighed the Italian, though the problem is his no more.
“He missed a chance in the game, but that’s not an issue.
“He has a problem with his arm, his shoulder is out – that’s the issue.
“It makes things more difficult for us because he had come back well from his ankle injury but is now probably going to be missing for a few weeks.
“We don’t know how long though – we will have to see.
“It was very painful, very bad for him, and he couldn’t even be touched afterwards.”
The extent of the damage is still being assessed, but Sunderland must hope that it is not severe enough to require surgery.
His strike partner on Saturday, Fabio Borini, has had surgery on both shoulders, which he has dislocated and on each occasion has been sidelined for months.
That might mean Sunderland not seeing their top goalscorer in action again this year.