Nemanja Vidic injured his knee last week and the news is not good for the Manchester United captain. Vidic will miss the rest of the season with a cruciate injury, according to the club website.
"We thought it was a bad one," United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said. "He's out for the season. It's not unexpected but it?s still bad news. He's such a dominant character, particularly his defending in the penalty box. That's always a strong feature of his game."
"We'll now have to choose between Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling [to fill the gap]. I thought Rio [Ferdinand] had his best game of season on Wednesday. His experience will be vital."
Vidic suffered the injury in the 44th minute of Wednesday's UEFA Champions League loss to FC Basel. It closes the book on an injury-hit campaign for the Serbian international. Surgeons will operate on the injured knee in the coming days an he should be ready to participate in his club's preseason program.
He suffered a calf injury in United's first league game on Aug. 14. He did not appear for his club for another two months. Vidic drew Ferguson's ire by playing for his country in a Euro 2012 qualifier despite not being fully fit.
With longtime defensive stalwart Ferdinand struggling to maintain his best form, Ferguson will depend on the youg trio of Evans (23 years old), Smalling (22) and Jones (19) to form a dependable rearguard going forward.
The reigning champions are in second place in the English Premier League after fifteen games. They trail local rivals Manchester City by two points.
Photo via Flickr/ionut.grigoras