Japanese star Keisuke Honda will be sidelined for up to four weeks after Melbourne Victory confirmed a hamstring injury.
Honda had missed Victory's past two games and was in line for a return this Saturday against Western Sydney Wanderers before pulling up lame with subsequent scans on Wednesday revealing the extent of the injury.
It's a major setback for Kevin Muscat's side, who have drawn their past two games in Honda's absence.
“It’s disappointing for Keisuke, his teammates, the club and our members and fans," Muscat said.
“He was close to playing last weekend - but we ultimately erred on the side of caution and allowed him an extra week to recover.
“He resumed full training with the group this week, with the intent to play against Western Sydney.
“While there wasn’t a specific incident of note, Keisuke reported tightness in the area, so we again sent him for scans and received the results late in the day
“While this isn’t the news we wanted coming into a busy period of games, we do have some players coming back into the frame for selection, which is a positive and will assist the group."
— Melbourne Victory (@gomvfc) January 3, 2019
Honda will also join Nick Ansell on the sidelines for Victory, with the defender expected to be out for a similar period after sustaining an injury against Wellington Phoenix.