Manchester United star Paul Pogba could be out of action for up to 12 weeks with hamstring injury feared to worse than expected.
The 24-year-old midfielder was forced off against Basel in the Champions League midweek just 18 minutes into the first half of the 3-0 win.
It was initially believed that the former Juventus man would miss just a handful of games, but he is poised to miss a large chunk of the season.
According to the Sunday Times, Old Trafford specialists fear he will need three months of rehabilitation before he can force his way back into selection.
A United source said: “The injury is really bad.
“It’s not normal for a player respecting our training programme.”
The report adds that initial MRI scans have indicated a grade three tear with potential tendon damage, ruling out the Frenchman for at least six weeks.
Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho is believed to be fuming with Pogba after he reportedly ignored medical advice from club doctors.
However the Portuguese gaffer has stated that his side are good enough to cope without his presence.
He said: “There are good players more than ready to play so honestly we miss Pogba, we need Pogba, but we have good players – Herrera, Fellaini and Carrick are waiting for a real chance to start the matches.
“We lost important players last season during crucial moments of the season and we weren’t crying or getting excuses in about that.
“Squads are there to try to cope with these kind of situations. I don’t know how many, but we’re going to play without Pogba for a few matches but we have other players.”
Pogba has started the season in spectacular fashion – netting twice in four top-flight matches – but he is in line to miss key fixtures for the Europa League champions.
Not only will he be absent for the remaining five Champions League group stage outings, he will also be watching from the stands against the Premier League’s top sides.
United face Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City before the end of 2017 in what could already be crucial clashes for the title.