Howard will be sidelined up to six weeks

Tim Howard, who went off at halftime of Everton's Boxing Day match against Stoke City, will be absent for up to six weeks with a calf injury picked up while kicking a ball in the match against the Potters. Howard  has never played less than 36 of 38 games in his eight seasons with Everton, and his loss is a huge one for the slumping Toffees, who have lost three games in a row.

''He's picked up a calf injury in his left calf and that's something that as a goalkeeper is really unusual,'' Everton manager Roberto Martinez said Tuesday. ''It happened just kicking the ball against Stoke.''

Howard missed the 3-2 loss at Newcastle United on Sunday and Everton remains on the road Thursday for a game at Hull City.

''Tim is going to be a huge miss, not just on the pitch but being around the place," added Martinez, "having the calmness that he gives to the younger players and the know-how that he brings to the dressing room."
Spaniard Joel Robles, 24, started only his second EPL game for Everton in the loss to Newcastle that dropped it to 12th place.
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