PAPISS CISSE could miss the start of pre-season training after breaking his kneecap in Newcastle United's 2-1 defeat to Swansea at the weekend.
Cisse will definitely play no part in the Magpies' remaining three matches of the current campaign against Arsenal, Cardiff and Liverpool after scans revealed he had fractured his capella.
The striker will undergo surgery to repair the damage, and is likely to still be sidelined when pre-season training begins at the start of July.
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He should be fit when the new Premier League campaign begins in mid-August, but would be short of match fitness if he had played no part in the warm-up games.
The injury could also have an impact in terms of Cisse's St James' Park future, as there had been suggestions that Newcastle could look to move on the 28-year-old, who has only scored two Premier League goals this season.
Turkish duo Fenerbahce and Trabzonspor were both heavily linked with the Senegal international in January, but there will be an understandable reluctance to make renewed contact with the Magpies until Cisse's recovery from surgery is complete.
Cisse's absence in the next three games could be compounded by the loss of Luuk de Jong, who damaged his ankle in the first half of Saturday's defeat.
Alan Pardew can still call on the services of Loic Remy and Shola Ameobi, but inexperienced youngster Adam Armstrong is the only other alternative as Newcastle look to arrest a five-game losing run in the final three weeks of the campaign.
Remy and Ameobi are hoping to feature in the World Cup finals this summer for France and Nigeria respectively, and Pardew has previously hinted at private concerns that some of his international players could put individual concerns ahead of club priorities as the cut-off for selection for Brazil nears.
Meanwhile, Hatem Ben Arfa is due to return to Tyneside later this week after being given permission to return to France over the weekend.
Having picked up a thigh injury in the 1-0 defeat at Stoke, Ben Arfa was given the green light to cross the Channel when he was ruled out of the Swansea game towards the end of last week.
He left the North-East last Thursday, but should return before the weekend in an attempt to prove his fitness ahead of next Monday's trip to Arsenal.
Ben Arfa has been the subject of considerable controversy in recent weeks as he has had a number of run-ins with Pardew, who questioned his application and attitude in the wake of this month's 4-0 defeat to Manchester United.
A number of senior players have also questioned the Frenchman's place in the squad, and his future will be one of the most pressing topics for discussion when Pardew and Lee Charnley meet with Mike Ashley at the end of the season.