Manchester United fear midfielder Antonio Valencia will be out for the rest of the season after he suffered a serious ankle injury in the club’s Champions League draw against Rangers.
In the second half at Old Trafford, Valencia was involved in a challenge with Rangers defender Kirk Broadfoot and required immediate attention before being taken to hospital.
After the match, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said the club suspected Valencia had suffered either a dislocation or fracture of his left ankle and could be out of action for a months.
“It is a dislocation or a fracture and he gets operated on tomorrow morning [Wednesday],” Ferguson said. “It was an innocuous challenge but when you saw the Rangers player waving, you knew it was a bad one.
“It is a bad blow for the boy. It is similar to the injury Alan Smith got and you are talking about the rest of the season.”
Smith suffered a broken leg when playing for United against Liverpool in February 2006 and was out of action for seven months.
Broadfoot spoke of his dismay at witnessing the injury after the game and wished the Manchester United player a speedy recovery.
”I’m not too sure what happened,” he admitted. ”I just slid in and looked round and his bone was sticking out. We tried to get the physio on to help him because you don’t like to see that.
”These things happen and hopefully he makes a fast recovery. I’ve never seen anything like that so close before. You see things like that on television and it’s not good but, to see it there in front of you, it doesn’t look nice and I just hope he recovers quickly.”