Manchester United have announced that Michael Carrick is to be sidelined for four to six weeks with an Achilles injury.
The England international has been nursing a niggling problem for some time, but returned to action in Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Arsenal.
He came through 90 minutes at Old Trafford, but revealed afterwards that he was feeling the effects of a demanding contest.
Carrick said: “I have been carrying the injury for a few weeks now. I was a bit patched up to play today.
“I got through it but it doesn’t look too good.”
He was forced to withdraw from the England squad for a friendly double-header against Chile and Germany as a result of the problem, along with United colleague Danny Welbeck.
Carrick could now be out of action until Christmas, with another period of recovery required to return him to full fitness.
His absence will be felt by United, as they are due to take in important fixtures at home and abroad over the coming weeks.
UEFA Champions League competition will see them face Bayer Leverkusen and Shakhtar Donetsk, while there are games to come against the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Newcastle United in the Premier League.
United and England team-mate Phil Jones told Sky Sports News: “He’s been in terrific form and he’s a top player. He’ll be missed by club and country.
He’s a great player, he brings a lot to a side, his range of passing, so he’ll be sorely missed.”
Confirmation of Carrick’s injury absence comes after the midfielder acknowledged United had made a ‘shocking start’ to the season under new boss David Moyes.
“After a shocking start we are not in a bad position,” said Carrick after United beat Arsenal 1-0 on Sunday to close to within five points of the leaders.
“We never really got too despondent. We were frustrated with our performances and results but you have to stay patient and trust yourself.