Everton gave supporters a rather unwelcome surprise today when they announced fullback Leighton Baines had suffered an ankle injury during training and would be ruled out for Saturday's season-opening match against Watford. And the club's official release gave supporters plenty of reason to fear that this will hardly be his only missed game from this injury.
The knock is to the ankle Baines had surgery on in May, a procedure that forced him to miss the final two games of last season.
"We're just hoping we can get him back quicker than we fear because the injury looks very similar to what he had before."
There's been no official word yet on just how long we can expect Baines to be out, but an injury on an ankle a player just recently had surgery on is rarely something you can hope to be shaken off after a week or two. If it does turn out to be as significant as many fear, this will mark the second consecutive season Everton loses a starting player to a significant injury, mirroring Ross Barkley's MCL injury that kept him out until mid-October.
For now, 19 year old Brendan Galloway has found himself thrust into a starting position for Everton against Watford. With Garbutt out on loan, the Toffees lack any true depth at left back now, a problem RBM's Ryan Black (now somewhat prophetically) marked as a worry for the club just a few day's ago. For Everton's sake, let's hope Galloway can settle into the pressure of his new assignment quickly.