By Richard Clarke

Theo Walcott is distraught at the knee injury that could keep him out until the start of May, according to Arsène Wenger.

Incredibly, the England winger suffered the problem as he was walking back after training. His right knee ‘locked up then swelled up’, probably the result of a knock in the previous session.

Speaking at his press conference an hour later, Wenger had yet to assess the full extent of the problem. But if it is a cartilage problem, the 20-year-old could be out until the final few weeks of the season. It would be a bitter blow given that Walcott has made just two starts following four months out with a shoulder injury.

“He is completely distraught,” said Wenger. “Completely. Theo is strong mentally but today I found him really shocked.

“Walking off the pitch he felt his knee lock up and it started to swell. If it is his cartilage it is three weeks minimum, five weeks to play. That means beginning of May.

“Theo gives us qualities that are different from other players. He’s direct and he has the timing to go in behind. He is an interesting quality in the team, so it is a big loss.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 20 Mar 2009