Richards facing 16 weeks out
Manchester City defender Micah Richards could be out of action until the end of February after undergoing surgery on a knee injury suffered during Saturday's 1-0 win over Swansea.
Earlier on Tuesday it was reported that Richards would be out for up to eight weeks, but further examinations have now doubled the time it could take for the player to recover from a torn meniscus in his right knee.
Richards, who is now on crutches, is hopeful of returning to first-team action ahead of schedule after already missing the opening two months of the season with an ankle injury picked up on Team GB duty at London 2012.
"The positive thing is that the injury has been repaired so the knee will be as good as new," Richards told the club's official website. "I have a brace on it and I am using crutches. I can't do anything at all for the next four to six weeks and I am probably looking at 12-16 weeks before I am back in action.
"I knew straight away in the game that it was quite a bad injury. The knee locked and I couldn't straighten it. I suppose it could have been even worse and not repairable which would have meant removing the meniscus; so I am being positive.
"I will be working as hard as I can to get back as quickly as I can and I thank all the fans who have sent their best wishes."
The 24-year-old collapsed in an off-the-ball incident during the second half, instantly clutching his knee as his night came to a premature end. Oxygen was administered as the defender was helped off after a lengthy hold-up. He underwent surgery at a Manchester hospital on Monday afternoon.
Elsewhere, though, there was better news on the injury front as City winger David Silva returned to England after spending a week in Spain having physio on a hamstring injury and right-back Pablo Zabaleta is likely to be available for this Saturday's Premier League encounter against West Ham after recovering from his own hamstring strain.