Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has expressed his concern of defender Eric Bailly's ankle problem and revealed that the Ivory Coast international may need surgery if he does not respond to "conservative treatment".
Bailly, who was a revelation in the heart of United's defence last season, has missed his side's last eight games through injury and does not look likely to return before the end of the year.
Mourinho, who has had to contend with a number of defensive issues already this season, did not seem positive about the former Villarreal star's rate of recovery when quizzed after United's win over Bournemouth on Wednesday (13 December) and admitted that surgery is a likely solution if the injury continues to be unresponsive to the treatment that is currently being administered.
"I think it's serious," Mourinho said in his press conference. "How long? I don't know. We are trying a conservative treatment, but if that's not working he'll probably have surgery."
While Bailly may have to prepare himself for a prolonged stay on the sidelines, his United teammate Luke Shaw will hope his recent appearances against Bournemouth and CSKA Moscow are the beginning of an upturn in fortunes at Old Trafford after being predominantly ignored during his time under Mourinho.
The United left-back impressed against the Russians and delivered another encouraging display as the Red Devils rode their luck to secure three points over Bournemouth. Mourinho chose to remain coy over the 22-year-old's chances of game-time in the coming months but confirmed that the seven-time England international is now an "option" in his squad after choosing to neglect him for much of the current campaign.
"I am not saying he is first or second choice, Luke Shaw is an option," Mourinho said. "People forget his history, a hard history with an incredible injury and more surgery last season. "I liked the standing ovation he got, it only helps the player."