Wayne Rooney's hopes of a quick comeback from the nasty wound he sustained during Manchester United's 3-2 win over Fulham on Saturday look certain to be dashed.
Rooney remained in hospital overnight as medical staff assessed the extent of the injury he sustained when Hugo Rodallega landed on him in stoppage time.
Immediately after the game, Sir Alex Ferguson said it was "a very bad one" which would rule his forward out for four weeks. This has been emphasised by the reaction of surgeons who were "surprised" at the depth of the cut.
Rooney returned home on Sunday morning after a comfortable night. However, his chances of figuring in next Sunday's Premier League encounter with Southampton appear non-existent and it seems inevitable he will also miss England's opening World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine next month.
Rooney's condition helped deflect attention away from the fact he did not feature in the United starting line-up yesterday, although Ferguson was at pains to stress there are "no problems" with the forward.
Instead of being paired with new signing Robin van Persie, Rooney was left on the bench as Ferguson kept faith with Shinji Kagawa following that dire defeat at Everton on Monday.
Rooney was amongst those to perform well below expectations at Goodison Park and many fans on Saturday immediately hailed Ferguson's decision as the right one.
However, it must have been a blow to the striker's pride if nothing else. And with the transfer window due to close on Friday, there is bound to be some talk of Rooney's future, if only outside the club.
Certainly Ferguson was quick to quell such talk even as Rooney was heading to hospital.
"He and Robin van Persie are needing games," said the Scot. "To start the two of them would have been too much. Wayne understood that. There is no problem. He played his part when he came on."