Sam Allardyce says it's too soon to say whether Eliaquim Mangala's season is over because of a knee injury
Sam Allardyce said that a definitive timescale can't be put on Eliaquim Mangala's prognosis as the extent of his knee injury continues to be assessed.
The French defender made his second start for Everton in the last game against Crystal Palace at Goodison Park but had to be withdrawn just before half time after suffering the injury competing for the ball at a set-piece during the Blues' 3-1 win.
Subsequent reports have suggested that Mangala could miss the rest of the season with suspected ligament damage but Allardyce insisted it was still too early to tell when he might recover.
"I think we're taking a second opinion on what we have to try and achieve with Mangala," the manager said. "It's a very difficult thing to assess just how long it's going to take, whether it's going to be longer than first predicted or not.
"It cannot be a certainty that it can be eight, 10, 12 weeks at this early stage. You have to judge it week by week. At this early stage, we shouldn't put a figure on it."
The manager covered a number of player availability issues during his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's televised match against Watford, including that of Ramiro Funes Mori and Leighton Baines.
Both the Argentine and the veteran left back stepped up their training during the squad's mid-season break in Dubai but while Baines looks ready to make a return to the matchday squad, Funes Mori may need one more outing with the Under-23s to prove that his knee is completely ready for first-team action.
Meanwhile, Seamus Coleman, who also had to come off against Palace, is a major doubt for the trip to Vicarage Road with a thigh muscle injury.