DARRON GIBSON'S season could be over, with Everton confirming that he will undergo surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury he suffered against Kazakhstan.
The 25-year-old did received some good news when scans revealed there was no damage to the structure of his right knee, which means that treatment and rehab will be focused solely on repairing the ACL damage.
However, interim Ireland boss Noel King suggested the Derry native could face "six months" minimum on the sidelines.
Last night, the player tweeted his disappointment while thanking supporters for their good wishes. "I'm devastated," he said. "But would like to thank all the fans for their messages.. long road ahead but I'll be back fitter and stronger."
King acknowledged that it was particularly painful for the ex-Manchester United player as he has spent large parts of this year on the recovery trail.
Gibson missed the start of the season with a niggling knee complaint and King admitted to wondering if he might have tried too much too soon by giving the midfielder 90 minutes in Germany – although the player had stressed beforehand that he was fit to play.
"He played against Germany – maybe people will say he came back too soon probably, I don't know – but I think he was fit and ready," he said. "He played bits for his club before he came in."
King went to see Gibson after the 3-1 victory and offered some consoling words but he said that the player was devastated.
"I feel very bad for him because he did give everything he had," King said. "He's a fine talent and he really could be one of the players Ireland could build around, depending on the way they play, in the coming years.
"He was sitting up when I was talking to him (his knee was in a brace). He knows the possibilities, particularly for a fella who is after fighting back from a long injury, it's very hard to take.
"I didn't see what happened (in the match), I just saw him on the floor. It was horrible. He was in agony."
Everton boss Roberto Martinez was part of the Aviva Stadium crowd and went to see Gibson afterwards. It is a blow to the Spaniard's plans, given that he had provided the player with an assurance that he was keen to deploy him in a defensive midfield role – where he was set to juggle his options.