The news that Darron Gibson is likely to miss the end of the season was met with grim resignation by Everton fans, with the Ireland midfielder’s struggles with injuries a recurring theme since his move from Man Utd three years ago.
The latest blow is a broken metatarsal suffered during training, with manager Roberto Martinez once again doing his best to remain positive:
"With Darron Gibson we had fantastic news from the specialist because the fracture he has doesn’t need surgery.
"Hopefully he will be back sooner rather than later but I think it will be difficult for Darron to play again this season, but it is something we aren’t certain over."
It is a significant blow for Everton because Gibson’s composure and passing range has been a valuable asset - when he is on the field.
He has looked a much more capable defensive midfield partner to James McCarthy than the ageing Gareth Barry, who looks to have lost that mystical ‘yard of pace’ this season.
And don’t forget he was something of a lucky mascot for the Toffees when he first moved from Man Utd, losing just one of his first 26 games in a blue shirt – and even that was a game he left after just 20 minutes due to (yes, you guessed it) injury.
But those credible performances mean little if he cannot string a significant number of them together without pulling up lame.
Former Everton midfielder Ian Snodin defended Gibson against claims he is injury-prone, stating the 27-year-old has just been unlucky to suffer serious injuries that any player could sustain at any time.
But after five serious injuries in three years you have to question whether Gibson is just too fragile, rather than just unlucky, for Everton to keep hold of.
After joining Everton in January 2012 he suffered a knee injury in late February, keeping him out for a month. The following September he sustained a serious thigh injury that kept him out for nearly three months, an injury he aggravated the following December, keeping him out for a further month.
Last season he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in October while on international duty, ruling him out for the entire campaign. He returned last September after 11 months out would only last 10 weeks before picking up yet another knee injury.
Gibson returned, again, in February but has now maintained his fitness for six weeks and seven games before this latest blow.
See a theme developing?
I am a big Gibson fan but there has to come a point where the money Everton spend on his wages can be better spent elsewhere - he has made 55 appearances since joining the club but has also missed 72 games in that time, not a good ratio.
Gibson enters the final year of his contract in the summer and you also suspect he is also entering the last chance saloon.
Given this foot injury is considered relatively minor, Gibson should be able to enjoy a full pre-season to get himself up to speed ahead of the new campaign.
But if this injury-plagued pattern continues next year it may well be – regrettably - time to cut our losses.