Manchester United defender Eric Bailly could be out for up to three months and needs surgery on an ankle injury, says manager Jose Mourinho.
The 23-year-old centre-back has not played for his club since the 1-0 defeat at Chelsea on 5 November.
The Ivory Coast international is not expected to miss the rest of the season, but Mourinho said he will miss “the next two or three months”.
“He goes to surgery, the decision is made,” he told the club channel MUTV.
Mourinho started Chris Smalling and Phil Jones for Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Bournemouth, and, following that win, the Portuguese boss said he was happy with his options at centre-back.
“During the whole season, we’ve had problems with central defenders but because the number is four or five, we manage always to have [players available] and Chris Smalling is playing amazingly well for seven or eight matches in a row maybe, so we are fine.”
Bailly was the first player to sign for United after Mourinho took over as manager, joining from Villarreal in the summer of 2016 for £30m.