BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United goes up for a header with David Abraham and Cabral of Basel uring the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
It has been revealed by Nemanja Vidic's agent, Silvano Martina, that the Manchester United captain has ruptured a cruciate ligament during Wednesday's defeat to FC Basel. The injury was sustained in the 43rd minute of the match when Basel's Marco Strellar came down awkwardly on Vidic's leg after an aerial duel. Vidic immediately clutched his knee and he was stretchered off while visibly in pain. After the match, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said that his skipper had suffered medial knee ligament damage, an injury that typically requires a recovery period of four months. However, in an interview with calciomercato.com, while addressing rumors that Italian side Juventus are in pursuit of the United center-back, Martina said that "It seems inappropriate to talk about that (Juve rumors) because unfortunately he has suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament." When asked if Vidic is facing a long road to recovery, the agent responded "Unfortunately so, yes. So even if it was true (about Juve), right now there would be no sense in talking about it."
If Martina's description of Vidic's injury is correct, this could mean a nine-month lay-off and the end of the defender's season. If Fergie's description is correct, then Vidic could return for this season's run-in. United have yet to comment on the captain's injury and it will likely be addressed on Friday during Fergie's weekly press conference. We'll provide full coverage of that and provide details of Vidic's injury if it is revealed.
Vidic is amongst the best defenders in the world so this injury, whether it causes a four-month or nine-month lay-off, is a major blow to the Reds and their English Premier League title hopes. With Rio Ferdinand's inability to stay fit, United may be playing a high number of games without either of their first-choice center-back duo. This will mean that Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, and Phil Jones will be called upon often to deputise. However, the latter two are asked to play right-back as well due to the frequent injuries to Rafael and Fabio. Youngster Zeki Fryers is an option for more senior side appearances and/or Fergie could look for reinforcements during the upcoming January transfer window.