West Ham United manager Avram Grant has confirmed that German midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger will be out for around four months due to a thigh injury.
The 28-year-old has yet to feature for the Hammers since joining on a free transfer from Lazio in the summer and is now ruled out until well into the new year.
Grant commented:"He was very good in pre-season until he got injured three days before the start of the season.
"He was a major part of our team, but we have not had him until now. We know he is important and he will do things that are good for us.
"For the moment the doctors say four months before he is back, so it will be around February, but we need to wait and see."
Hitzlsperger is in his second spell in English football, having spent five years at Aston Villa before heading home to join Stuttgart in the summer of 2005.