The Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic is out for the rest of the Premier League football season after rupturing his anterior cruciate knee ligament in the midweek Champions League defeat at Basel.
The Serbia centre-back was carried off on a stretcher during the 2-1 loss in Switzerland on Thursday which sent United out of the Champions League at the group stage.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson had been desperately hoping Vidic would be back in only a few weeks.
But Vidic underwent scans on his right knee and Ferguson revealed the 30-year-old's injury is serious enough to keep him out for the remainder of the campaign.
Vidic's absence is a significant setback to United's hopes of retaining the Premier League title.
With United already reeling from their surprise exit from the Champions League, Ferguson could have done without Vidic joining Rafael and Fabio Da Silva, Anderson, Tom Cleverley, Javier Hernandez, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen on United's growing injury list.
He will have to hope Rio Ferdinand can improve his shaky form and establish a partnership with one of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling or Jonny Evans at the heart of United's defence.