Knee operation to sideline Nemanja Vidic two months

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If Chris Smalling and Phil Jones weren’t already out, this news might not sting so much for Manchester United fans, but already down two defenders, Red Devils’ supporters are right to be concerned about a two-month absence for Nemanja Vidic.

The United captain missed Sunday’s North West Derby after complaining of tightness in his right knee. This week tests showed a problem with his meniscus. Under the knife he went.

Here’s United’s full statement (in case you wanted the above restated by Minerva McGonagall):

“Nemanja Vidic has had a meniscus operation on his right knee and will be out for around eight weeks.

“Sir Alex, as a precautionary measure, rested Vidic at the weekend, after he complained of tightness in his knee, however, further medical investigation revealed the underlying problem.

“The central defender was operated on this week and will be sidelined for about eight weeks.”

If United were fully healthy, Vidic’s loss would be anywhere from a minor setback to inconsequential. But they’re not.

Here’s what Manchester United’s central defense depth chart would look like at the best of times:

  • Nemanja Vidic
  • Rio Ferdinand
  • Jonny Evans
  • Jones/Smalling
  • Smalling/Jones
  • Michael Carrick

Now?

  • Rio Ferdinand
  • Jonny Evans
  • Michael Carrick
  • Minerva McGonagall

Patrice Evra’s probably number four, not Minerva. Either way, Michael Carrick looks destined to see more time in defense.

Last season, Manchester United led the Premier League in games lost to injury, part of the reason they were a strong bet to reclaim their Premier League title. Now, players again are going down like flies, which makes you wonder what’s going on at United.

For years Arsenal has had trouble keeping players healthy and getting them back in a timely fashion once they go down. Now Manchester United, one of the youngest teams in the league, has acquired a similar affliction.

Is it bad luck? Poor prevention? Roster management? Or maybe they’re more cautious with player injuries? We never have enough information to know for sure, but coming off a year where games lost cost them a title, this is a disconcerting early trend.