Nemanja Vidic Suffers a Setback in His Recovery from Knee Injury

Deep Ghosh@soumyadeep018Correspondent IIINovember 2, 2012

HARRISON, NJ - JULY 27:  Nemanja Vidic #15 of the Manchester United celebrates with the trophy after defeating the MLS All-Stars 4-0 during the MLS All-Star Game at Red Bull Arena on July 27, 2011 in Harrison, New Jersey.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for the New York Red Bulls)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Nemanja Vidic has suffered a setback in his recovery from a knee injury. The current prognosis indicates a possible time of return around Christmas.

In an interview with MUTV, this is what Sir Alex Ferguson had to say about the club captain (quote via manutd.com):

I think we're talking around December for Vidic. Maybe around Christmas time.

The Serbian defender has been out for the last six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair meniscus damage on his knee. The original prognosis after the surgery was eight weeks on the sidelines. However, the recovery is now expected to take a month longer than that original prognosis.

Recurring Injuries and the Crisis in Defence

Vidic had missed the second half of last season after suffering a cruciate ligament injury in the same knee. In fact, his current injury is understood to be a common side effect of the serious injury Vidic suffered last December.

Vidic's latest injury had precipitated a defensive injury crisis at Manchester United. He was the only fit centre-back for United at the start of the season.

Both Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans returned by the time Vidic got injured. However, United still don't have backup options for the duo in case they were to get injured.

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An Easing of the Injury Crisis

Despite the fact that United only have two fit centre-backs right now, the next couple of weeks should see an easing of this injury crisis.

Chris Smalling is said to be near match fitness and could well figure in next week's Champions League game at Braga. Smalling has been in recovery for some time now from a broken metatarsal.

In addition, Phil Jones is also close to a return as he looks to begin football training after his long-term layoff from a knee injury. 

A return of these two young centre-backs is essential for United as they enter a particularly busy period of the season. Over the next two months, they have as many as 14 games scheduled, 11 of which are in the Premier League.

Vidic's Return

While Manchester United do have many games scheduled in the next couple of months, the good news is that most of those games are eminently winnable for the Old Trafford club.

The two most difficult games in this spell are the home game against Arsenal tomorrow and the away game at Manchester City on December 9. Otherwise, most of United's games are against clubs in the bottom half of the table.

As a result, the news of the delay in Vidic's recovery may not spell doom and gloom for Manchester United. They are currently in a pretty strong position in the League and the Champions League and they only need to sustain the level of performances we have seen in the last month to do well till Christmas.

Once Smalling and Jones return to the squad, there will also be enough options at centre-back.

Vidic's return, however, would become critical once United enter the business end of the season. His experience will be invaluable both in the league and also in the knockout stages of the Champions League, especially if United are drawn against some of Europe's big guns.

Therefore, it is imperative that the club's medical staff and Vidic himself concentrate on the player returning to full fitness, even if it delays his return by a few weeks.

A fully fit Nemanja Vidic is critical to Manchester United's trophy aspirations and the club must ensure there is no recurrence of any injury once he makes his comeback.

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