It now appears as though Sir Alex Ferguson may have to make do without his influential skipper for up to a year after Nemanja Vidic's agent Silvano Martina admitted the severity of his client's knee injury.
"The first forecasts say it can last for a year, but it is meaningless to talk about the end of his career," he said.
"It’s a serious injury but club doctors assure us that the recovery will run smoothly and he will be back on the field. It will take time to get back into the old rhythm, but there is no doubt that Vidic will be his old self again.
"Nemanja is feeling good. He will be back next year stronger and better."
Serbian centre-back Vidic suffered ligament damage during Manchester United's ignominious 2-1 defeat to Basle in the Champions League, a result that saw the Premiership champions crash out of Europe at the earliest possible stage.
Though Ferguson has been rotating his squad well since then, recent knocks to Phil Jones and Jonny Evans have put him under further strain, while this latest revelation is also a rather debilitating blow to the Old Trafford club.