Newcastle United have been dealt a major injury blow after birthday boy Rolando Aarons sustained a rupture to the anterior cruciate ligament in training.
The winger, who had only just returned from injury, is due to undergo surgery on his right knee before a lengthy rehabilitation process.
A club statement said: "Newcastle United can confirm that Rolando Aarons sustained a rupture to the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a training session this week.
"He will undergo surgery in due course and a further statement will be made at that time."
It is a major blow to Aarons, who turned 21 today. The winger had only just returned to training after a foot injury, which had kept him out since August.
Just this week Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez said Aarons was on the verge of a return to the second tier leaders’ first-team squad.
Benitez, speaking last week, said: "He’s getting closer.
"He’s running and doing the tests.
"He was fine. He had surgery. He was wearing trainers and now he’s fine with the boots."
Aarons, who has not kicked a ball since August’s League Cup victory over Cheltenham, now faces another lengthy spell on the sidelines.