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Arouna Kone could miss rest of season

Everton striker Arouna Kone could be out for the rest of the season after it was revealed that he needs knee surgery.

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The Ivory Coast international, a six million pound summer signing from Wigan, suffered a knock to the knee during the 2-1 Premier League win over Hull on Oct. 19.

Manager Roberto Martinez said last week that Kone, 29, needed to undergo tests, which have shown the injury to be worse than first thought.

He told Everton's official website: "We had disappointing news that Arouna Kone will need a bit of a period away.

"We need to give him a lot of support because he was enjoying his role when he came on against Hull and then he got a nasty incident that is going to keep him away for a long time.

"He had a loosened body, a bit of cartilage in his knee, so we need to repair that, which will take time.

"We're going to work on other aspects of his body to get him fully fit and strong so that, when he comes back, he is ready to enjoy his football. It's going to be a long spell out and that's disappointing."

Kone has yet to score for Everton since making his move from the DW Stadium. Martinez indicated previously that the striker had to play catch-up with his fitness during the early part of the season after observing Ramadan.

He then suffered a knee injury just before the 1-0 Premier League victory over Chelsea on Sept. 14, and has managed only two appearances since.

Kone is Everton’s second long-term injury victim of the season, following midfielder Darron Gibson, who is recovering from cruciate knee ligament damage sustained during the Republic of Ireland’s 3-1 win over Kazakhstan in a World Cup qualifier last month.

Martinez added: "We've got Darron Gibson reacting really well a couple of weeks after surgery so now he and Arouna are going to work extremely hard to get back before the season ends."

Meanwhile, the manager has indicated that Romelu Lukaku, another of his strikers, will be fit for Saturday's Premier League trip to Crystal Palace.

The on-loan Chelsea forward, 20, suffered a leg injury in the collision that knocked out Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris during Sunday's 0-0 draw at Goodison Park.

Martinez said: "We're very pleased with Romelu's recovery. We were a little worried on Monday, but he reacted well to training and is fully fit to train, which is really good news.

"Everyone else has been fine -- we didn't collect any other knocks or bruises."