Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has been given the green light to feature in Belgium’s final two World Cup qualifying matches despite suffering damaged wrist ligaments last week.
After having X-rays on the injured wrist while with the Belgium national team, team doctor Kris van Crombrugge has said that the 25-year-old only faces two weeks on the sidelines once he has surgery rather than the two months that was being predicted when he first suffered the blow.
United are hopeful of postponing the operation, with an eye on their Champions League group fixtures with Bayer Leverkusen and Shakhtar Donetsk, although he will be required to wear a protective cast to prevent any further damage.
“In accordance with Manchester United’s club doctor, Marouane will have surgery in December or January, unless he is ruled out in the meantime by something such as a suspension,” Van Crombrugge said.
“After that, he will need a recovery period of one week or two at the most. Beyond that, he can resume playing by using a brace to protect the wrist
“'The surgery is not urgent, and that is why it can be delayed. He was in too much pain to play for United last weekend but now it has been taped, he is fine to play.”
Fellaini joined the reigning Premier League champions on transfer deadline day, having followed his former manager David Moyes to Old Trafford in a £27.5m deal.
Both Moyes and chief executive Edward Woodward were criticised though for their lack of movement in the summer window, with failed pursuits of Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara and Ander Herrera demonstrating their desire to sign a threatening central midfielder.
With Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley and Ryan Giggs the only other options in midfield, United were fretting over Fellaini’s participation in the matches against Croatia and Wales in the next five days.
But the news that the injury is not as bad as first thought will be a relief to Moyes, as he looks to improve results once the Premier League resumes after the international break.