Injury Latest

John Green says that Michael Carrick is unlikely to figure against Leicester City at the weekend - while Don Hutchison is a doubt too.

But the longer term news is a little better, with the news that Ian Pearce and Steve Lomas are about a month away from returning to action.

Of more immediate concern, however, is the Hammers' depleted midfield, and John says: "With Don, his thigh is very, very stiff. It is mainly as a result of the haemotoma that comes underneath the seven stitches that he received at Macclesfield.

"The area underneath the injury bleeds and the difficulty he has now is getting that area where the scar is to stretch when he is bending the knee and hopefully that will settle down before the weekend to allow him to play.

"Obviously he hasn't torn any tissues as in ligaments, tendons, or muscles, but the actual soft tissue underlying the knee has been torn quite badly and we will just have to hope that settles down for the weekend.

"It just goes to show that if we lose more than one key player in any one position the players are really stretched - it is a pressure that everyone is under at the club and it has been the same for a while."

A pressure increased by the fact that Michael Carrick, who missed the FA Cup trip to the north west, is likely to miss the weekend as well.

John reveals: "It was obvious to see the block tackle he made at the end of the Liverpool game, and it made him very sore in the medial ligament of his knee; the force of the shot pushed his foot away from his knee and caused a strain on the inside of his knee.

"It was quite a ferocious block that he made and the end result of that is a two to three week spell for it to settle so it is unlikely that Michael will partake in the Leicester game at the weekend.

"At the moment there is no way that Michael could play with the way the knee is - any movement that deviates inwards is giving him quite a lot of discomfort and we need to make sure that discomfort is gone and that he feels completely stable on the knee.

"But at the same time we can't afford to have him out any longer than is absolutely necessary.

"With so few players available there is enthusiasm from players, and ourselves, to come back but that is the nature of the game and we all need to be as professional as we can and keep them out for the appropriate amount of time - but not a week too long."

The good news is, however, that Ian Pearce is making a good recovery from a knee operation, while Steve Lomas is ever closer to a return after breaking a toe just after he returned to action following a long lay off with a knee injury.

Says John: "Ian Pearce has now got over all the problems he had with his scar and he is healing. We expect him and Steve Lomas to be back in the latter part of January, or maybe the first week of February by the time they have played some reserve games, so we are just looking at three weeks now of rehab work for those two.

"Hopefully that will be an end to both of their problems and I'd have thought they'd be ready for mid to early February - perhaps Steve sooner than Ian because, with a broken toe, when it is healed, it is healed, and there aren't any further complications.

"The amount of time Ian has been out could mean he may benefit from having a little bit longer before he actually gets back into the first team, but time will tell.

"Certainly Steve Lomas was just very unfortunate - someone stamps on your foot and that is the sort of thing that happens, but the fracture was an awkward one that needed pinning whereas normally you would allow it to heal as it sits and it would settle of its own accord.

"This one needed a metal pin put in and then that needed to be removed, and then the toe is sore for a little while and it all adds to the prolonged nature of the problem.

"With Ian Pearce the operation was a huge success, and he is saying that the knee definitely feels different to how it felt before, and the things that were a problem to him before are settling down somewhat now.

"It is a case of getting him back, and the real test will come when he starts running again and hopefully he will be doing that within a couple of weeks and we'll know then if it has been the success we assume it has been.

"The idea of a rehabilitation process is that the whole body has to be rehabilitated when you have been out for a while, not just the area that has been affected by the actual injury because disuse atrophy is a big problem when areas have not been used.

"Other muscles that would normally be exercised are not and soft tissue degenerates through lack of use, but we hope through the rehab we do that there are not too many setbacks."

As for other injuries, John concludes: "Paolo is training again now and we will look forward to seeing if he is available for this weekend.

"Steve Bywater is continuing the rehab to his hands but it will be a while yet before he has sufficient strength to take a shot, so at the moment it is a case of building up his strength in the upper limb."