Manchester, England – Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher will miss the start of the 2013-14 Premier League season as he recovers from a bowel operation.
Fletcher, 29, has been out of commission since Boxing Day last year and had surgery in January to correct a lingering problem with ulcerative colitis.
The Scotland international was forced to take an extended break from the game in December 2011 because of the chronic bowel disease, and it flared up again a year later.
"I've had it for five years but really struggled to control it for the last three years," said the Scotland captain. "It's had a big impact on my day-to- day life, never mind trying to play football.
"Medication wasn't helping me but surgery was the only solution if I wanted to have not only a future playing football but even a quality of life going forward.
"It's all going well. I am still under the hands of the medical team just now and the surgeon who is looking after me. Everything is going to plan so far and I am not that far away now."
Fletcher has made 310 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 23 goals. He has also made 61 appearances for his country while scoring seven goals in international competition.