West Ham boss David Moyes says Kurt Zouma will be a “big miss” but has backed other players to take their chance in his absence.
Zouma, a summer signing from Chelsea, is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a hamstring tendon injury.
“He has been very good for us and everybody has been impressed,” said Moyes. “He’s come with the experience we’d expect of a player who has come from Chelsea.
“He’d be a big miss for anybody, but we’ve got [other] players who helped us get to Europe last year.”
The 27-year-old France international had a scan on Monday, but the club have not set a timeframe on his recovery.
Fellow centre-back Angelo Ogbonna is set to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury picked up in November.
The shortage of defensive options may prompt boss David Moyes to move for reinforcements in January.
Zouma has started 11 of West Ham’s 15 Premier League games this season since his £29.8m summer move from Chelsea, playing a key role in the Hammers’ surge to fourth place in the table.
With Ogbonna out and veteran Winston Reid having left the club in September, Moyes has only Issa Diop and Craig Dawson as fit specialist centre-backs.
Full-back Ben Johnson has a “low-grade” hamstring tear from the Chelsea win but the 21-year-old is set to return sooner than Zouma.