The Wellington Phoenix have suffered a big blow with star playmaker Carlos Hernandez out for six weeks with a fractured wrist.
Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick said Hernandez suffered the injury early on in Friday's 1-0 victory over Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park.
Hernandez played on but started complaining about aching pain after the match and was sent for X-rays in Sydney yesterday.
"He's fractured his scaphoid and is flying home today," Merrick said.
"He will have surgery in a couple of days and it is normally a six-week injury. He's pretty devastated because he wants to play at the World Cup [for Costa Rica next year]."
The Phoenix are now without their two best creative players, with Paul Ifill sidelined for the season with a ruptured achilles.
Stein Huysegems can play in Hernandez's No 10 role, but Merrick said he was reluctant to move the Belgian striker, who has scored in his last two starts.
Young Kiwi midfielder Jason Hicks is another option.
The ninth-placed Phoenix play against the second-placed Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium tomorrow night.
Merrick said the fitness of right back Louis Fenton (shoulder) would be further assessed tomorrow.
Josh Brindell-South and Matthew Ridenton are in Sydney as cover.
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