Lisandro Martinez has been ruled out for at least eight weeks with ligament damage in his right knee.
The 26-year-old defender sustained the injury during Manchester United’s 3-0 win over West Ham on Sunday February 4, after which Erik ten Hag admitted the issue could be “very bad” and was a “personal disaster”.
Martinez suffered the injury when tangling with Vladimir Coufal as he attempted to shield the ball out for a goal-kick in the second half at Old Trafford and was replaced shortly afterwards.
Martinez initially tried to play on after the incident but soon pulled up again before trudging off the pitch, and United confirmed the nature of the injury in a statement on Monday evening.
A Man Utd statement said: “Lisandro Martinez has sustained an injury to the medial collateral ligament in his knee and is expected to be out of action for at least eight weeks.
“The Argentine defender left the field in the 71st minute of our 3-0 win over West Ham United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
“We all wish Licha a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back on the pitch later in the season.”
The Argentina defender spent nearly three months on the sidelines before returning for the 2-2 draw with Tottenham on January 14.
After he was brought back into the side, United won three and drew one of their four games.
However, they have actually won more points and conceded fewer goals per match without Martinez in the side in the Premier League this season.
United are well-stocked at centre-back should Martinez remain absent in the long term, with Ten Hag able to call on Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Jonny Evans and Victor Lindelof, who returned to the squad after injury on Sunday.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the United boss added: “It is very bad – very bad for him, very bad for the team. He is a very important player for us.
“We have centre-backs who can fill in but he brings spirit to the team, apart from his football abilities.”
Moyes: Martinez made a ‘huge difference’
West Ham boss David Moyes said Martinez made “a huge difference” in the game against United, explaining: “He brings much greater calmness on the ball in their build-up play.
“I am not an expert on Manchester United but I think that makes them look more comfortable.”
Moyes even highlighted a key moment in the game when Emerson was running through on the angle after dispossessing Harry Maguire.
Martinez was able to force Emerson wide, with Moyes saying: “I think he was a bit spooked by Martinez.”
Man Utd’s next five games
- Aston Villa (A) – Premier League, Sunday February 11, live on Sky Sports
- Luton (A) – Premier League, Sunday February 11, live on Sky Sports
- Fulham (H) – Premier League, Saturday February 24
- Bristol City/Nottingham Forest (A) – FA Cup, Wednesday February 28
- Manchester City (A) – Premier League, Sunday March 3, live on Sky Sports
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