Sunderland have confirmed that star striker Ross Stewart's Achilles injury will rule him out for the rest of the season. The Scotland international will under go an operation next week before beginning his rehabilitation work.
Stewart suffered the injury in the first half of Saturday's FA Cup fourth round tie at Fulham, which ended in a 1-1 draw, and was stretchered off. The Scotland international returned to Wearside wearing a protective plastic boot and initially it was feared that he had suffered a total rupture of the Achilles, which could have sidelined him for up to 18 months.
But earlier this week it was reported that the injury was not as bad as was first thought, although there was no confirmation from the club at that stage. But Sunderland have now issued an update on their official website, saying: "Sunderland AFC can confirm that Ross Stewart will miss the remainder of the season with an Achilles injury.
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"The striker was stretchered off during Saturday's draw at Fulham, and will undergo surgery next week before beginning his rehabilitation. You'll be back stronger, Ross!"
It is a huge blow for the Black Cats in the current campaign as they challenge for a Championship play-off place. Stewart has already missed three-and-a-half months of the season due to a thigh injury, but when he has played his form has been electric and he has scored ten Championship goals in 13 games.
Everton's decision to recall Ellis Simms from his loan spell on Wearside at the beginning of the month left Stewart to shoulder the goalscoring burden alone until the club brought in Joe Gelhardt from Leeds United on loan last week. And with Sunderland failing to land another striker to replace Stewart before the transfer window closed, it leaves Gelhardt as the club's sole out-and-out centre-forward - unless they bring in a free agent.
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