Manchester United have confirmed Nemanja Vidic has undergone successful surgery and will be back for the 2012-13 season.
There had been indications that Vidic, who ruptured three ligaments in his knee in the defeat to Basle in early December, would miss at least a year and may struggle to get back to his best as a result of the injury.
However, his agent recently suggested that Vidic could be back within just five months and, after undergoing surgery during the week, the club have announced on their official website that the centre-back is "on course to return to action in the 2012-13 season".
Sir Alex Ferguson said on Friday that the operation had been successful. "He had surgery on Wednesday and came through fine," he said. "They didn't remove anything at all, everything's clear, but it's a cruciate so it'll be next season."
"Cleverley's a massive loss," he said. "He, to my mind, is probably the best midfield player in Britain, potentially. He has fantastic promise, so it's a loss to us."
Ferguson, who has also dismissed fears that Chris Smalling could be absent for three months, gave a more upbeat prognosis when questioned on Anderson and Fabio.
"Anderson's coming on great," he said. "He's showing great progress. He's trained well. We're just monitoring him because he still has to do a lot of work in the gymnasium but he's coming along.
"Fabio Da Silva's not far away - he should be back in maybe ten days. The centre-backs aren't long-term. They should be available in the next week or two."