Last Updated: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 10:02
Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole may have played his last game for the club this season due to his knee injury.
Whilst the player himself is desperate to get back into the action and do his bit in the battle against the drop for the final eight games, boss Martin O'Neill is planning for life without him.
Knee problems have plagued Cattermole since November and when he recovered from the original one he then damaged the opposite knee on his return.
He has now had injections in it to try and help the problem but O'Neill says if he does return before the end of the campaign it will be a bonus.
He told the Echo: "Lee has a few more days to go after having had the injection.
"The specialist told him not to do a great deal and while he is obviously working with the physiotherapist, he is not doing anything that will risk damaging his knee.
"We hope for the best but, to me, if he comes back this season, then that would be a bonus - and an unexpected bonus.
"We may have to cope without him.
"And even if he does successfully come back from the injury, he will still be nowhere near match fit."
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