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Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 10:20 GMT
Baggies' Appleton blow
West Brom midfielder Michael Appleton
Appleton's absence will hit West Brom hard
West Brom midfielder Michael Appleton looks set to miss the rest of the reason after tearing cruciate ligaments in his right knee.

The 25-year-old sustained the injury in an accidental training ground collision with defender Des Lyttle on Monday.

Appleton is now set to undergo an exploratory operation this weekend to assess the extent of the damage, although early indications are he may be ruled out for up to nine months.

Appleton missed the Baggies' 2-1 defeat at Rotherham through suspension and manager Gary Megson admitted his absence for that one game was significant.

Now Megson faces the prospect of losing the influential midfielder for considerably longer.

Megson said: "The best case scenario is that he could be out for three to four months and the worst is eight to nine months.

"It's a big blow for him and a massive one for us because everybody saw how we struggled without him at Rotherham."

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