Middlesbrough have received an injury blow to key striker Rudy Gestede, as the 28-year-old is set for an extended stint on the sidelines after suffering a freak injury which required surgery to relieve a dead leg.
Gestede is understood to have suffered the injury after a clash of legs with a teammate in training which has caused continual bleeding, however the surgery is said to have made the striker more comfortable.
However, with the nature of the injury the length of Gestede's absence is unknown and speaking at a press conference on Thursday, manager Garry Monk said, via the club's website: “Rudy's is a bit of a freak injury really, he had a dead leg but it is quite rare for it to re-bleed after compression.
“He had a minor operation to relieve the bleeding so we don't know the extent or time-frame of the injury in terms of the time he will be out.
"We're hoping sooner rather than later.”
28-year-old Gestede had started the season brightly - starting four of Boro's opening five league games - after forming a blossoming partnership with his fellow strike force Britt Assombalonga and Patrick Bamford.
Gestede's absence from the side could not have come at a worse time for Monk's squad, who are also missing Martin Braithwaite, as they gear up to play seven matches within three weeks.
The strikers absence however, does seemingly open the door for a return for either Ashley Fletcher, Stewart Downing or Adama Traore to the starting lineup.