ALAN Pardew says Nacer Chadli is likely to miss 'the first two months of the year' owing to a recurrence of a thigh injury.
The midfielder tore his thigh muscle in training after returning from international duty with Belgium in November, with his long-awaited return to action against Stoke City earlier this month lasting just 15 minutes as he hobbled off with a repeat of the injury.
And Alan Pardew believes that despite the best efforts of the club's medical team, he will be without a 'quality player' for some time.
"Nacer looks like his injury is as bad as it was originally so we think he's going to miss the first two months of this year which is a big blow to us. I said coming out of the Stoke game that it was probably a bigger blow than the result.
"That's something we're going to have to deal with and it's something that I'm going to have to look at in January because it's a quality player going out of the group for some considerable time.
"On the medical side of that issue they ticked all the boxes and more. We're just a little bit unfortunate that it re-occured and that can happen. Next time round we're going to have to be even more careful and cagey around it - that's why I'm saying two months rather than possibly less which it could be.
"Not only does he want to do well for the club, for me and for the fans but he also has the World Cup around the corner. He's really disappointed and upset but he'll be okay. He'll get his head around it. He's experienced enough to do that."
There was good news for the Baggies Head Coach with regard to top scorer Salomon Rondon, however. The Venezuelan was withdrawn after 53 minutes of the clash with Everton on Boxing Day with a hamstring problem. But Alan has confirmed the injury is not as bad as first feared - and also gave an update on James Morrison.
"Just Salomon is a doubt from the squad that I had the other day. He came off with that tweak to his hamstring but I can report that it's not serious. I think the next two games he's probably a doubt but after that it should be fine. It's not a long-term problem which is very useful in where we are at the moment.
"James is getting closer, he's starting to jog around. I suffered a really bad achilles injury as a player and they're temperamental. You think you've got it but then it fattens up again and you can't get that unrestricted movement you need in that area. He has to be patient but I know he's desperate to come back."