RALPH Hasenhuttl confirmed Armel Bella-Kotchap suffered a dislocated shoulder and could be out for up to eight weeks – but he faces assessment first.

The 20-year-old defender was forced off the pitch just minutes before half-time of the 1-1 draw with West Ham United at St Mary’s.

Bella-Kotchap immediately called for the assistance of physios with four entering the field of play and readying oxygen, before helping him off with his arm in support.

The young German international was hoping to head to the World Cup in Qatar next month but could be set back by this injury concern.

Speaking after the match, Hasenhuttl identified: “It’s a dislocated shoulder, it can be everything from playing on Wednesday to eight weeks.

“If he is out, it would be as damaging as the injury to Tino Livramento or Romeo Lavia. He is an important player.”

Lavia has been out for Saints since the end of August, when he picked up a muscle injury in the win over Chelsea. Livramento, meanwhile, faces being out until 2023 from April’s ACL injury.

Deadline day signing Duje Caleta-Car replaced Bella-Kotchap and Hasenhuttl admitted it was not easy for him to come into the team in that situation.

“I expected a little bit more organisation, a little bit louder there as a more experienced guy,” Hasenhuttl added.

“But in the end defending the high balls was absolutely okay and we need him, we knew this and it is good to have him.” 

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