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By ESPN Staff

Gers skipper Ferguson face injury lay-off

Rangers skipper Barry Ferguson could miss crucial European qualifiers and the first Old Firm game of next season.

Surgeons have told the midfielder he will be out for up to 16 weeks after he has reconstructive ankle surgery.

If Ferguson has the work done in early May, as planned, it could be September before he leads the team again.

He said: 'The surgeons gave me a rough estimate of 12-16 weeks that I won't be able to play.

'For the first eight weeks of that I will be idle as I will be in plaster.

'I will have a full plaster for four weeks and then I will wear a boot-style protector for another three to four weeks.

'After that I will be able to start to run, but I don't know what I'm going to do with myself for those first eight weeks.

'It's a long process but I have been through it with my knee so I can handle it.

'I'm just glad I know all the facts now and I can get this done and look forward to next season.

'In a perfect world it will be the end of the season but I will see how the next few weeks go and if it is causing me the same hassle before I got the steroid injections - which have now worn off - then I will go in and get the operation done.

'Looking back, I suffered ligament damage in my ankle when I was 19. When you are younger you can recover from things quicker and I didn't need an operation at that point.

'I was out for about four or five weeks and then I came back and played normally. However, it has caught up with me now.

'I don't have a ligament any more and my ankle will need to be reconstructed with some steel pins to make it stronger.

'I will be a hard slog but I know what is in store and I know that I will fully recover and be able to start fresh.'