Sheffield United are waiting to learn the extent of the injury suffered by John Egan in the closing stages of their 3-0 Premier League defeat to West Ham.
The 28-year-old has been one of the Blades' most reliable players in what has been a difficult second season back in the top flight, but he was unable to complete the game in east London after challenging Jesse Lingard for the ball late on.
Egan immediately signalled to the bench while clutching his ankle and foot, seeking immediate help for an impact injury that appeared to cause the Irishman's foot to be jarred at an awkward angle.
After the game, manager Chris Wilder was unable to give a definitive update on Egan's condition, but hinted that the injury may bring further bad news for his side.
“It didn’t look too good with the stretcher,” Wilder commented, quoted by the Irish Times. “He’s on crutches now and that caps a miserable night for us. He’s a tough Irish boy so for him to stick his hand up wasn’t a good sign.”
The Blades' official Twitter account posted at the time that Egan 'appears to have sustained a serious foot/leg injury', and any absence would be another major bump in the road as Sheffield United attempt to battle back from an appalling start and stave off relegation.
Egan had missed just three games in all competitions this season and, despite results being poor for the most part, has often been the man looked to for inspiration as the Blades look to turn things around.
The news is also a blow for the Republic of Ireland, who may now be without Egan for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers. If he his absent, it won't be the first time that manager Stephen Kenny has been unable to call on the Sheffield United man - he was also ruled out of the October internationals after returning a positive COVID-19 test.