Andy Carroll comeback uncertain
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce admits the mental challenges will be the most difficult part of Andy Carroll's recovery from a foot injury.
The Hammers forward aggravated an injury in his foot earlier this week and looks set to spend an extended period on the bench.
According to Press Association Sport, Carroll has flown to Belgium for rehabilitation treatment, although it is unclear whether the England international will require surgery.
Allardyce, who described the injury as one usually suffered by "ballerinas and basketball players", insists Carroll is strong enough to overcome the mental hurdle of yet another setback.
"It is a big challenge for Andy because he has got to be mentally really tough now," Allardyce said. "He has to be really, really focused and we have got to make sure we keep his spirits up whenever we get the chance because it is a lonely place to be when you are injured, and certainly for the length of time he has been injured.
"This will make him feel pretty low for a while, but he has to battle through that and we will look after the psychological side as well as the physical side. At the end of the day it is just about getting him fit as quick as we possibly can."
"What you find on my research is that this is an unusual injury for footballers. It probably more revolves around people like ballerinas and basketball players because of the bounding side of it. What caused Andy's injury in the first place is his leap -- he leapt up high for a ball against Reading on the last day of the season and landed (awkwardly on his foot). That is what happens with basketball players because they are 22 stone and 6ft 7ins, it more occurs in those sports.
"Once it has healed, it is about managing it then. Eventually it will be gone, but there is still a period of time after the injury has healed where he will get some discomfort through the foot. We will do all we can to eliminate that as quickly as possible."
The timing could not have been worse for Carroll, after the 24-year-old just managed to break back into the national team fold.
But Allardyce refused to rule out the striker's chances of getting back into Roy Hodgson's plans by the end of the year.
"I wouldn't even speculate on that (Carroll's place in the England side) because the important thing for me is to get Andy Carroll fit and playing for West Ham United," Allarydce added. "He had forged his way back into Roy's plans at the end of last season, but then unfortunately had to report that he had picked up the (Achilles) injury, otherwise he would have travelled with England. It is a big year for Andy to be at West Ham scoring goals and also trying to get himself into the World Cup squad, if we (England) qualify."