MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 30: Chris Smalling of Manchester United looks dejected at the end of the Carling Cup Quarter Final match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on November 30, 2011 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Manchester United centre back Chris Smalling has recovered from a groin problem only to break a metatarsal, forcing him into surgery and ruling him out of the start of the season.
Manchester United defender Chris Smalling will miss the beginning of the Premier League season after being forced into surgery for a broken metatarsal. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed the extent of the injury while talking to MUFC, claiming that the defender could be out for as long as two months:
He got an injury on the Wednesday and, straight away, we decided to have the operation, so he's out. It's difficult to say with a metatarsal but it could be ten weeks. He's not carrying any luck, the kid, but he's young and we've done the right thing in getting it done immediately and getting him back on the road as quickly as we can.
With Nemanja Vidic set to return following his lengthy absence, losing their fifth-choice centre back until October isn't the worst thing in the world for United, who will also be without Johnny Evans for some time as well. However, it's one more hurdle for Smalling to clear as he attempts to develop his young career, and by the time he's back he could fall even further down the pecking order at Old Trafford