Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic will miss the rest of the season after suffering knee ligament damage during the Champions League defeat to FC Basel on Wednesday.
The Serbian injured the area after a clash with Basel's Marco Streller as United crash out of the Champions League in Switzerland.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed the severity of the injury during a press conference on Friday.
"Nemanja is out for the season," Ferguson said. "It is bad news. He will be a loss.
“He’ll see a specialist on Monday to work out the progress of when he has the operation. It won’t be immediate as we have to let the swelling come down.”
The news will come as a major blow to United's hopes of retaining their Barclays Premier League and recovering from the shock of being knocked out of Europe's premier club competition.
Since joining the club in 2006, Vidic has been the cornerstone of a United side that has reached three of the last four European Cup finals.
The 30-year-old was handed the United captaincy at the beginning of last season, and has often proved to be indispensable to the club's back-four.
United are likely to call upon Jonny Evans for the visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, while Ferguson might be tempted to purchase a replacement for the former Serbia international during the upcoming transfer window.
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