EDDIE Howe admitted it was "quite strange" to discover Chris Mepham had suffered a serious knee injury, given the defender had played on after picking up the knock against Luton.

Mepham received treatment during the first half of Cherries' FA Cup win over the Hatters earlier this month, after sliding in to block a shot from Harry Cornick.

But the Wales international returned to the field and completed the full 90 minutes of the contest, only to discover later that week he would have to undergo surgery to repair knee ligament damage, which could rule him out for 12 weeks.

Asked for an update on the 22-year-old's recovery, Howe told the Daily Echo: "It (the operation) went well. He’s now recovering.

"That was in a tackle with Harry Cornick last week. He played on with that injury, which was quite strange when we saw the diagnosis.

"It was a massive blow because he had played on, we hoped he would be okay.

"But (it was) just another dent really into our week, which was difficult in the build-up (to Watford) with the players (Aaron Ramsdale and Junior Stanislas) withdrawing."

Mepham had played in every minute of Cherries' previous eight fixtures before the 3-0 loss to the Hornets with fellow centre-backs Steve Cook and Nathan Ake nursing injuries.

And now almost a year on from his £12million arrival from Brentford, Howe feels the recent run of matches had benefited the defender.

"He’s done very well," said Howe.

"He’s really grown with the challenge that he’s had and the different games have really brought his game onto another level so I’ve been really pleased with him.

"It (the injury) was bad timing for him and for us."