Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic is on course to return for the start of the 2012-13 season after successfully undergoing knee surgery.
The Serbian international centre-back suffered knee ligament damage in United's
2-1 defeat at Basel
in the Champions League on 7 December.
"He had surgery on Wednesday and came through fine," said Sir Alex Ferguson.
"They didn't remove anything at all, everything's clear, but it's a cruciate so it'll be next season."
While Vidic will miss the remainder of the Reds' current campaign, Ferguson revealed that the injury situation at Old Trafford was slowly improving.
United's current injury list
- Nemanja Vidic
- Michael Owen
- Tom Cleverley
- Javier Hernandez
- Ashley Young
- Jonny Evans
- Chris Smalling
Nine United players are currently out of action through injury or illness, including Fabio da Silva who is sidelined with a hamstring injury.
"Fabio's not far away, he should be back in maybe 10 days. The centre-backs [Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling] aren't long-term - they should be available in the next week or two," Ferguson told mufc.com.
However, Ferguson said striker Michael Owen and midfielder Tom Cleverley were "still nowhere near" returning to action.
"Cleverley's a massive loss," he added. "He, to my mind, is probably the best midfield player in Britain, potentially. He has fantastic promise so it's a loss to us."