Melbourne Victory captain Carl Valeri has labelled the serious injury to defender James Donachie a crushing blow.
Donachie will have surgery after tearing his quadriceps off the bone in the dying stages of last Saturday's Melbourne derby loss, and will miss the rest of 2017.
Valeri said the players were unsure when Donachie would return but was gutted for the stopper who had started the season in strong form at right stopper.
"I feel sorry for Donks because I was excited to see where he could reach this year, but he'll bounce back stronger,” he said.
"We're still unsure (how long he will miss). He needs surgery, but how long, times, his recovery, we really don't know.
"He's a top person to have around, a real funny character and we'll really miss him on and off the pitch.
"There's only so much you can say. He's actually in good spirits, as sad as it is, he knows he'll get on top of it and come out (stronger).
"It's unfortunate and we're gutted for him, we'll miss him but we've got a squad with a lot of depth and everyone's ready to step up. Everyone works very hard, everyone's dedication has been outstanding.”
Victory, which has started the season with two losses, travels to Adelaide Oval tomorrow night.
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