Burnley striker Matej Vydra may have kicked his last ball for the Clarets
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The 30-year-old ruptured his cruciate ligament in the opening stages of the 2-1 victory over Watford two weeks ago, but somehow managed to play through the pain barrier.
The ex-Hornets forward, who scored a crucial winner against Wolves at Turf Moor beforehand, laid on the winner for Josh Brownhill at Vicarage Road to boost the Clarets' chances of Premier League survival.
The Czech Republic international — who had been attracting interest from clubs in the UK, Germany, Turkey and MLS — had unselfishly prioritised the club's future ahead of his own, telling the Burnley Express: "We’ll see what happens after the season. But I’m focused on helping my team-mates to stay up and then we’ll decide with my agents and the club."
However, the former Championship Golden Boot winner with Derby County in 2018 won't play any further part in Burnley's bid for safety in the top flight after scans last week revealed the full extent of his injury.
Vydra, who was expected to undergo surgery this week, was absent from the squad for Saturday’s 3-1 defeat by Aston Villa with interim manager Mike Jackson confirming the worst possible news for the striker in his post-match media obligations.
It's been a season of frustration for the former West Bromwich Albion man, who underwent a hernia operation after the goalless draw versus Arsenal at the Emirates — one of just five league starts this season — and then dislocated a shoulder.
"It's been frustrating, especially after the new year," he said. "After Arsenal we decided that I would go for hernia surgery, I was fully fit, then the last session for the Chelsea game I dislocated my elbow. It's not a typical injury for a footballer."
The latest setback has cast doubt on his future at the club, as his current deal comes to an end this summer, along with eight of his Burnley team-mates.
One of those, James Tarkowski, is also embroiled in a race against time to be fit for the Clarets' final three games of the campaign.
The stand-in skipper, 29, hobbled off with a tight hamstring early in the second half as the Villans ended the club's unbeaten run under Jackson.
The centre back went down innocuously on the halfway line, and signalled to the side-lines that he was unable to continue, with Kevin Long his replacement as he exited the pitch gingerly.
The Under 23s boss, who had spells as manager with Tranmere Rovers and Shrewsbury Town, couldn't shed too much light on the extent of the defender's injury in the immediate aftermath.
But, ahead of a scheduled scan on Monday, he was hopeful that it wasn't anything too serious. "We don’t know at this moment in time, he felt a tight hamstring," confirmed Jackson. "We will have a look at him on Monday or Tuesday and fingers crossed it is not too bad.
"He knew himself that it was getting a little bit tight and he has made the decision, but he doesn’t come off if it is not a little bit sore."