EXCLUSIVE: Valencia on crutches as Vidic is ruled out for two months
21:58 GMT, 25 September 2012
Manchester United have been dealt another blow after captain Nemanja Vidic was ruled out for eight weeks following a knee operation as Antonio Valencia left the club’s Carrington training ground on crutches.
Valencia’s right foot is in a protective boot while United’s medical staff continue to assess the injury he suffered in Sunday’s victory at Liverpool.
The winger is understood to have been hurt winning the penalty which decided the game at Anfield, even though Liverpool’s Glen Johnson accused him of diving.
Nightmare: Nemanja Vidic has been ruled out until the end of November
KEY MAN VIDIC
Without Nemanja Vidic, United’s win percentage in the Premier League drops by nearly 10 per cent. They have won 74 per cent with their captain and 65 per cent without him. They are also 30 per cent more likely to concede a goal in a game.
The loss of Vidic leaves United with only two first-choice centre-halves in Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones recovering from surgery. It will also raise questions over the condition of Vidic’s right knee, as it is the same joint the 30-year-old injured in a Champions League tie with Basel last December, keeping him out for nine months.
Sportsmail revealed then that the severity of Vidic’s injury — he damaged medial and lateral ligaments as well as rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament — was rare. It appears that the Serb has suffered complications five games into his comeback.
Blow: Antonio Valencia (centre) left United's training ground on crutches
A club statement read: ‘Nemanja Vidic has had a meniscus operation on his right knee and will be out for around eight weeks. Sir Alex, as a precautionary measure, rested Vidic at the weekend, after he complained of tightness in his knee, however, further medical investigation revealed the underlying problem.’
Vidic, will now miss four of United’s five remaining Champions League group games and at least eight Premier League fixtures.
Ferguson will have Smalling and Jones
back in the next six weeks but for now must rely on Evans — who has
played three United games since foot surgery — while ensuring he does
not put too much strain on Ferdinand’s long-standing back problem.
The 32-year-old is set to be rested for Wednesday’s Capital One Cup tie against Newcastle at Old Trafford.
Darren Fletcher will make his first senior start in 10 months and Wayne Rooney is back in contention.
Big job: Rio Ferdinand (centre) will have a new partner in central defence