Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard expects Diego Carlos to play a “big chunk” of the season after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Summer signing Carlos has had successful surgery on the injury he sustained on his second competitive Villa appearance against Everton last weekend.
The Brazilian, a reported £26million recruit from Sevilla, is set to be missing for several months, but Gerrard insists the 29-year-old will still play a significant role this season.
“It’s certainly a blow to lose a player of his importance,” Gerrard said ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Crystal Palace.
“We’ve had a week for that to sink in and for us to process that. He’s had successful surgery (on Thursday), so we’ll look forward and try and be positive.
“Each day that passes he’s closer to a return, and we’ll give him all the patience and support he needs from a medical point of view.
“He’ll play again this season, for sure. We’re very confident of that.
“It’s very difficult to put a timeframe on this injury because the surgery in this situation – and in most cases – is pretty straightforward.
“The important bit is how the rehabilitation goes and you’ve got to hit your targets as you go along. But, for sure, he’ll still play this season and he’ll have a big chunk of the season as well.”
Less than two weeks remain of the transfer window and Gerrard says he is mulling over whether defensive additions are needed in light of Carlos’ injury.
Centre-half Kortney Hause, who has not played since January and underwent a knee operation in the summer, has returned to full-time training this week.
Gerrard said: “We’re having talks behind the scenes to decide what we do. I don’t think there’s an urgent need (to make a signing).
“We’ve still got three fully-fit centre halves that are ready to go, Kortney’s just joined the group and is back in full training and we’ve got some fantastic young kids that are brewing in the background as well.
“There’s no urgent need as in hours or days. We’ve got time from now until the end of the window to decide whether we need to get more support in that area.”
Villa bounced back from their opening-day defeat at Bournemouth to beat Everton 2-1 at home.
Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins combined well against Everton, while Emiliano Buendia impressed after replacing Philippe Coutinho as a second-half substitute and staked his claim for a starting spot by scoring the winner.
Gerrard said: “It’s not a case of having favourites or a best front three, it’s about horses for courses and what we think the game in front of us demands.
“We’ve got a lot of attacking options and big talents who all bring different skillsets.
“They’re all extremely important to us and they will be over the course of the season.”