Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson revealed Friday that captain Nemanja Vidic could be out of action until December.
The Serbian defender was ruled out for a minimum of eight weeks after undergoing knee surgery in September, but hopes of Vidic returning in November appear to have been ruled out.
"I think we're talking around December for Vidic," Ferguson told MUTV of his return. "Maybe around Christmas time."
Vidic joins Phil Jones and Chris Smalling on the sidelines, leaving last season's Premier League runners-up to rely upon Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans to fill the void in the center of defense.