Manchester United striker Michael Owen is facing up to six weeks on the sidelines with a thigh injury, the Premier League champions have confirmed.
The 31-year-old suffered the problem during his side`s 2-0 Champions League win over Otelul Galati on November 2, but it was not initially thought to be serious.
United have confirmed otherwise, though, with a club spokesman telling www.manutd.com: "Michael has a thigh muscle injury and will be out for six weeks or so."
As a result, Owen is unlikely to be available to manager Sir Alex Ferguson until the Boxing Day clash with Wigan.
If that proves true, he will miss nine games in all competitions, including the November 26 tie with former club Newcastle.
Owen, who joined United in 2009, has scored 17 goals in 52 appearances for the club, often from the bench or in cup competitions.