Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher looks set to miss the start of the upcoming Premier League campaign as he continues to recover from surgery.
The Scotland international has been battling the bowel condition ulcerative colitis for a number of months now, and is still recovering surgery that was completed in January.
The Scotland captain took nine months out of the game to see whether his bowel condition could be cured, and he returned last September. But after only three games, Fletcher began to struggle, and is yet to make an appearances since the 4-3 win over Newcastle on Boxing Day.
Asked on BBC Radio Five when he may feature again, Fletcher replied: "Hopefully, not too long after the start of the season. I think I will just miss the beginning of the season."
And Fletcher also admitted that although it has been hard to control his illness, he hopes that the surgery will now help him move forward.
"I've had it for five years but really struggled to control it for the last three years. It's had a big impact on my day-to-day life, never mind trying to play football. Medication wasn't helping me but surgery was the only solution if I wanted to have not only a future playing football but even a quality of life going forward.
Fletcher has begun light exercise, and he has admitted that he feels that he may be able to join up with the rest of the team shortly.
"It's all going well," he added. "I am still under the hands of the medical team just now, and the surgeon who is looking forward after me. Everything is going to plan so far, and I am not that far away now. I am doing exercise on my own. I've not been given the green light to join in football training but I am doing my own running and physical activities and feel great."
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