Injured NI star Paddy McNair begins his long road to recovery
Northern Ireland star Paddy McNair is on "the road to recovery" after undergoing successful knee surgery on Wednesday. The Sunderland ace updated fans on his progress by sharing a picture of himself in a hospital bed on social networking site Instagram shortly after his operation.
McNair posted an image of himself giving a thumbs up while still dressed in his theatre gown with an oxygen tube on his face and a drip in his hand.
The 21-year-old from Ballyclare captioned the snap, 'Successful op so now the road to recovery begins! Thank you all for the support and messages, I will be back'.
The former Manchester United player suffered a serious cruciate ligament injury during the Black Cats' 3-0 win over Hull in November.
But McNair had to wait weeks before undergoing the surgeon's knife as the open wound on his knee meant medics could not operate on him immediately.
Sunderland manager David Moyes confirmed in a post-match interview that the rising star has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.
"We won't see him again this season and all we can hope for is getting him right for the start of next season," said Moyes.
"I think he'd just started to find his way in the Premier League - even though he had experience at Manchester United - and the games he was having were bringing him on and giving him confidence."
McNair's injury is a huge blow to Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland squad as he will not feature in the World Cup 2018 qualifier against Norway in March.
It is the second anterior cruciate ligament injury to hit the squad this year after Chris Brunt suffered the heartache of missing the Euro 2016 finals due to the same issue.
McNair has already received well wishes from the Northern Ireland team and his old club Manchester United on Twitter who both hoped for a speedy recovery.
After signing from United in August, McNair has made 12 appearances for the crisis-struck Black Cats.
Sunderland have an unenviable list of serious injuries, with Duncan Watmore also out for the season with a cruciate ligament injury. A hip injury has ruled Lee Cattermole out for up to four months while Lynden Gooch has ankle ligament damage which could take 12 weeks to heal.