Manchester United received the grim news this week that skipper Nemanja Vidic faces up to eight weeks on the sidelines...
Vidic was rested as an apparent precaution for last weekend's big clash with Liverpool after feeling pain in the same knee which kept him out for the last five months of last season with a ruptured cruciate ligament.
Further medical examination revealed an underlying problem and the decision was taken to operate immediately.
This is the latest in a worrying string of injury setbacks for the Serbian international who has been so integral to success at Old Trafford.
Last season, United's win-rate plummeted from 80% down to 61% when the defender wasn't included in the starting line-up.
The 30-year-old's partnership with Rio Ferdinand is widely regarded as the best in the Premier League.
However, with both players becoming so injury prone over the past few seasons, Sir Alex Ferguson has been left frustrated by the amount of combined playing time the pair have managed.
Ferdinand himself has been plagued with various ailments in the past few seasons and can no longer be relied upon to stay injury free for a sustained period of time.
And to compound matters further for the United manager, Ferdinand could soon be getting an England recall following John Terry's decision to quit international football while the FA's investigation into alleged racism rumbles on.
This will be enough to give Sir Alex sleepless nights in itself with Jonny Evans the only other fit recognised central defender available to him.
With the return of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones still a number of weeks away, the timing of the injury could not be worse.
Smalling is around two weeks away from a comeback but the versatile Jones still has around a month left in recovery from a knee injury and both players will take a while to adjust to the rigours of first-team football.
United will now be left woefully short of defensive cover with vital Champions League games coming thick and fast, including next week's tie at CFR Cluj where United are 1.65 for an away win.
Their domestic stock has risen despite these concerns though, with the Red Devils practically level with neighbours Manchester City in the Premier League winner market at 2.96.
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