West Ham United can confirm that Ricardo Vaz Te underwent successful shoulder surgery on Monday evening as he continues his recovery from the dislocation he suffered during the Barclays Premier League fixture against Arsenal on 6 October.
Head of Sports Medicine Andy Rolls and his medical team have been working with Vaz Te since the match to determine the right course of treatment and it was decided that keyhole surgery was the best long-term solution to ensure there were no further complications. After being kept in hospital overnight for observation, Vaz Te will now start his rehabilitation, which is expected to take up to 12 weeks.
The Portuguese winger's absence is likely to provide an opportunity for a number of attacking players who have been itching to be involved in the first team. Matt Taylor, Gary O'Neil, Modibo Maiga - who scored again for Mali at the weekend - and loan signing Yossi Benayoun could all now come into contention for a starting place.
Youngsters from the Hammers' table-topping Development Squad such as Rob Hall and Matthias Fanimo could also provide cover for Sam Allardyce should they be needed.
"First and foremost Andy Rolls and his medical team have researched the best possible treatment and the quickest recovery, which was keyhole surgery," said Big Sam.
"There would have been a slightly quicker option to get him back but we would have been unsure on the stability of the shoulder and it could have been more susceptible to dislocate again.
"We think we've chosen the best option to strengthen the shoulder and get him back as quickly as we can.
"We've got some good players ready to step up in place. Matt Taylor has been there and there are others in the squad that haven't quite played as much such as Gary O'Neil.
"Whichever option we pick it's up to them to step up to the mark. They need to provide the attacking opportunities that we need."