Vidic faces a year on the sidelines! Nightmare knee injury for United captain
Nemanja Vidic could be out of the game for up to a year after it emerged the Manchester United captain has damaged three major ligaments in his right knee.
Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed on Friday the Serb defender, 30, will miss the rest of the season after he was carried off against Basle in midweek, but the extent of Vidic”s injury is expected to mean a significantly longer recovery.
Down and out: Vidic went down in agony after a coming together with Streller
Blow: United fear Vidic is out for a year
It is extremely rare for a player todamage his medial and lateral ligaments as well as rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament – which is an indication of how badly Vidic twisted his knee in a sickening collision with Basle captain Marco Streller in Switzerland on Wednesday.
He will see a specialist on Monday but is not expected to have surgery for another two weeks.
Professor Angus Wallace, one of the country”s leading sports surgeons who was involved in the treatment of Wayne Rooney”s metatarsal in 2006, said: “It can take nine months to a year to recover from such a serious injury.
“To damage both collateral ligaments and the ACL is rare. The usual nature of these injuries stretches two ofthese ligaments but the third is protected.”
What a difference the Serb makes…
In the seven-and-a-half matches Vidic has played since returning from injury in October, Manchester United have conceded just two goals.
In the four-and-a-half games they were without him in that period, they have conceded 11.
United manager Ferguson made a rare foray into the January transfer market to sign Vidic for 7million following his side”s last failure to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League in 2005, but he is unlikely to buy a replacement innext month”s window.
He will instead rely on three young centre backs in Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones and hope 33-year-old Rio Ferdinand can stay fit for the rest of the season.
“It”s not unexpected but still bad news,” said Ferguson. “When you saw the replays you knew it was a bad one. It”s a loss, of course it is. Vida”s such a dominant character.
“But we have the options there. It”snot a consistent route for us to buy in January simply because of all the disadvantages. You don”t want just to buy anyone simply because it gives you another player. I think we”ve only had maybe five January signings in my time here.
“If you went for a player, I”m not even sure that he could play in the Europa League. There are criteria ifthey”ve played in the Champions League. There are a lot of issues.”
United are still coming to terms with their Champions League exit after the defeat in Basle demoted them to Europe”s junior competition.
Ferguson defended his team in the face of widespread criticism, saying: “These young players had a nasty experience on Wednesday, but they know they have the trust of myself andthe coaches.
“They will not be hounded because of one bad performance. They are the right players and time will prove us right.”
Ferguson promised to try to win the Europa League after defusing a public row with UEFA president Michel Platini, who took exception to his comments that the prospect of playingon Thursdays and Sundays for the rest of the season was United”s “penalty” for failure in the Champions League.
“The world does not revolve around England,” said Platini. “You shouldn”t criticise the Europa League just because you”ve played in three Champions League finals.
“The Europa League is a brilliant competition, it”s amazing. I know Mr Ferguson would have preferred to bein the Champions League but so would many clubs who don”t have that possibility.”
Ferguson tried to qualify his statement, saying: “When I say it”s a punishment to enter the Europa League it”s only in the sense that for 20 years this club have only thought about the Champions League. It”s a disappointment we are not challenging for it this year.
“We”ve been in three finals in the last four years, so it”s not a sleight against the Europa League, because it”s a competition you want to win. We”re in it and we”ll try towin it.
“It”s a good competition, a strong competition. We will have a go at it, but it has to be married in with the League programme we have.”
United could be without nine first-team players for today”s home game against Wolves after Darren Fletcher failed to train yesterday.
But there was better news about Anderson. Initially ruled out until February with a knee injury, he is now said to be possibly two weeks away from a return.