MIKEL Arteta could be facing several weeks on the sidelines after becoming the latest player to join Everton's casualty list in last night's 1-1 draw with Birmingham.
Arteta had to be substituted within the first 10 minutes of the Barclays Premier League match at Goodison Park having sustained an apparent hamstring problem while in a chase with Sebastian Larsson.
The Spanish midfielder has been in impressive form of late and was named captain for the game in the absence of another hamstring victim Phil Neville, but soon had to pass the armband over to Phil Jagielka.
When asked about Arteta, Toffees boss David Moyes - who also has Marouane Fellaini and Tim Cahill in the treatment room - told www.evertonfc.com: "It looks like a hamstring injury.
"It's too early to say - I'm not sure but I'm guessing he will be out for a few weeks."
Birmingham took a 17th-minute lead through Jean Beausejour's header but John Heitinga rifled in an equaliser from outside the box 10 minutes before the interval and Everton looked by far the more likely side to find a winner in the second half.
They were unable to do so, though, and Moyes admitted the loss of Arteta so early in the match was a major setback.
"It was a big blow for us because we needed some creativity and I knew that if we didn't have him, we would be struggling to create too much," Moyes said.
"Leon Osman did, but we were struggling otherwise really to make anything happen."
Blues boss Alex McLeish praised his side's resilience.
"I think that is an apt way to describe it - a battling point," McLeish said.
"We started very brightly and got the opening goal. Then the players showed that tremendous resilience that they have."