Sir Alex Ferguson fears Antonio Valencia will be out for the rest of the season after suffering an horrific injury in Manchester United's goalless Champions League draw with Rangers at Old Trafford.
Valencia went down after a seemingly innocuous incident involving Kirk Broadfoot and immediately signalled he was in trouble. TV replays showed his foot pointing in the wrong direction and he was eventually stretchered off, with Broadfoot in obvious distress.
"It is a dislocation or a fracture and he gets operated on, on Wednesday morning," confirmed Ferguson.
"It was an innocuous challenge but when you saw the Rangers player waving, you knew it was a bad one. It is a bad blow for the boy. It is similar to the injury Alan Smith got and you are talking about the rest of the season."
Arguably, Smith was never the same player for United after he suffered his injury in a freak accident against Liverpool in 2006.
At the time, Ferguson described it as the worst injury he had ever seen.
In total, Smith was out of action for seven months, which if repeated in Valencia's case, would keep the winger out until mid-April.
It certainly presents Ferguson with a major problem because without the former Wigan man, he is left with just Nani, veteran Ryan Giggs and untested Gabriel Obertan as orthodox wide-men.
At least Ferguson was able to report good news on Wayne Rooney, who on his return to first-team action went over on his ankle just before half-time and was limping noticeably immediately afterwards.
"Wayne Rooney is OK. He went over on his ankle but it was no problem," said Ferguson.