Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper will be out for at least three months after undergoing surgery on his dislocated shoulder yesterday.
Harper sustained the injury against Everton on Saturday and Dutch keeper Tim Krul will deputise in his absence.
A Newcastle spokesman tonight said: 'Following a shoulder ligament injurysustained in United's game against Everton last Saturday, Steve Harper hasundergone a successful operation which took place yesterday.
Countdown to Christmas: Harper is not expected to feature again until December
'It is likely that Steve will be unavailable for selection for a period of around 12 weeks.'
The 35-year-old was injured in a first-half incident involving Toffees striker Jermaine Beckford.
Beckford was booked for the challenge by referee Andre Marriner and although the tackle was not a particularly bad one, it ended the involvement in the game of Harper, who landed heavily on his left shoulder and immediately looked in distress before being carried from the field on a stretcher.
Krul the conqueror: Young Dutchman Tim Krul will deputise for Harper, while Swede Ole Soderberg plays understudy
It means the player is unlikely to figure for Newcastle's first team again until the middle of December - and is likely to mean an extended run in the side for Tim Krul.
Manager Chris Hughton will use Swedish keeper Ole Soderberg as Krul's understudy. I've never been the same player since my Valencia-style injury, admits SmithChelsea 3 Newcastle 4: Ameobi strikes to dump out 10-man BluesNEWCASTLE UNITED FC