West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini has ruled out a return for Andriy Yarmolenko this season.
Winger Yarmolenko, an £18million summer signing from Borussia Dortmund, needed surgery on a torn Achilles suffered against Tottenham in October.
There were hopes the 29-year-old, who has scored 36 goals in 79 appearances for Ukraine, would be available before the end of the season.
But Pellegrini has decided not to risk Yarmolenko during the run-in, instead giving him a full pre-season to get up to speed for next term.
“Yarmolenko is working very well, he has no pain, he is running and kicking the ball, but maybe it will be too soon for him to play before we finish,” said Pellegrini.
“The Achilles tendon is one of the worst injuries you can have because you cannot go faster, you must exercise the ligament and then wait.
“To play this season I don’t think would be good for him. It would be better to do a very good pre-season.
“If you return after a long injury you get muscle injuries. He must be calm and wait for next season working hard, and we will see the player that we brought because he is a very good player.”
Jack Wilshere, who has not played since December due to more ankle problems, is due to return to full training next week along with fellow midfielder Carlos Sanchez, who had a knee operation in October.
But Pellegrini could offer no update on striker Andy Carroll, who may have played his last game for the club.
The injury-plagued striker, who has an ankle problem, is out of contract at the end of the season and has little prospect of being offered a new one.
“For the moment, I don’t have any news about Andy,” added Pellegrini. “But soon in the next few days we will be clear what is happening with him.
“I’m not thinking about next year, not with only Andy but all the players. We must finish this season and after that evaluate what we did and then try to have the best squad for the next season.”
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