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Darron Gibson tears ACL on international duty, could return to Everton by April

Oct 17, 2013, 8:27 AM EDT

Ireland's Darron Gibson is carried from the pitch on a stretcher after sustaining an injury during the 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Kazakhstan at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin

Everton midfielder Darron Gibson is set to undergo surgery after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The injury occurred in a first-half challenge while on international duty with the Republic of Ireland during their World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan in Dublin on Tuesday.

A club statement from Everton did not note a specific time-line for Gibson to return. But, ever the optimist, Toffees manager Roberto Martinez said he hopes to see the 25-year-old return before the end of the season.

“Yesterday’s scans showed that his ACL is ruptured, but the knee reacted well and nothing else is damaged,” Martinez said. “We look forward to seeing Darron back, hopefully this season. Taking into consideration what it could have been, it was positive news.”

What ‘it could have been’ is a scan that revealed additional damage like a torn meniscus, MCL, PCL or some combination thereof. Of course, recovery from an ACL tear is no picnic for a footballer. While Everton will provide Gibson with state-of-the-art care to help fast-track the recovery process, achieving match fitness from such an injury is generally considered to take at least six months.

Assuming Gibson undergoes surgery in the next week, returning to action in mid-April is a possibility. Given Everton’s new found depth in the center of the park, however, it shouldn’t surprise if the Toffees shut him down for the rest of the season.

Manchester City loan Gareth Barry has fit in seamlessly at Goodison Park and already appears to be forging a strong partnership with fellow new-boy James McCarthy. The versatile Leon Osman gives a different look in the holding role while Ross Barkley – currently holding his own in the attacking midfield role – could also drop back if circumstances should require.

Troubled by a different knee problem throughout August and September, Gibson only had featured in a single Premier League match for Everton, coming on as a 62nd minute substitute in the 3-1 loss at Manchester City.

So while Gibson’s injury comes as a blow to Everton, it is not one that will cause great panic throughout the club.

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