Tim Howard has been ruled out of the FA Cup quarter final with Wigan Athletic this weekend and is likely to be out until April after it was revealed that he fractured two bones in his back in the later stages of the fifth round replay with Oldham.
The American will not require surgery but there is no definite timescale on his recovery either given the nature of his job as a goalkeeper and the greater impact that diving has on the spine.
According to the Guardian, David Moyes is quoted as saying "Tim is out against Wigan. He has broken two bones in his back. We don't think he will be out for the season."
"I read that [Newcastle's Fabricio] Coloccini could be out for seven weeks [with a similar injury] but we are not sure how long Tim will be out for because, obviously with a goalkeeper, he has to dive around and hit the ground.
"I have let him go away for a few days. It might be that, if everything goes well, he misses next week's game as well and then because of the international break he might be close after the rest because that would be four weeks."
That would mean Howard could be pencilled in for the home game against Stoke City on 30th March, though his manager remains cautious.
"He has two fractures," Moyes continued, "but they are not bones that are supporting anything. It is off the spine. They are not weight-bearing. It just needs a bit of healing time. It is not like a pure fracture where you need to wait to look at it.
"It is a question of whether he can cope with the pain. The bones will heal themselves but it's not good."
Howard was on course to break Neville Southall's record of consecutive League starts for Everton but fell a handful of games short at 206 when he missed the clash with Reading last weekend.
It was the first Premier League game he had failed to start in over five years.