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Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez will not need surgery on the right knee he sustained against West Ham United on Sunday but is expected to be out for up to eight weeks.

Martinez, 26, sprained the medial collateral ligament in his knee – recovery time could vary – in a 68th-minute clash with West Ham’s Vladimir Kufal in what appears at best to be fears. The Argentine suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

A United statement read: “Lisandro Martinez has injured the medial ligament in his knee and is expected to be out for at least 8 weeks.”

We all wish Licha a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back on the field later in the season.

“I can’t say no, but it doesn’t look good,” United manager Erik Ten Hag said after their 3-0 win over West Ham. “There is a bad risk. We have to wait a few days for the investigation. We will do everything to do the proper investigation and see the damage.

“He’s very sad, very upset. We all really feel for him. First of all, it’s a personal disaster when it’s bad, but it’s also bad for the team, because it brings us a lot.

Martinez only returned after missing more than three months recovering from surgery on a broken metatarsal in his foot. This is the second operation on the case, with a previous operation ending his first season at United in April.

The Argentinian will join United in the summer of 2022 from Ajax for £47 million (currently $58.9 million), rejoining Erik ten Haag, who coached him at the Dutch club.

Martinez played 45 times for United in all competitions last season, missing his last nine Premier League games with a foot injury. He has made just 10 appearances for United this season, but the West Ham game will be just his seventh league start of the season.

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How big of a loss will Martinez’s absence be?

Martinez hit the road again after the game, reminding fans of the potential of a United team in him, another forced absence at a cruel moment.

Ten Hague managed his return cautiously – first introducing him as a substitute against Tottenham Hotspur, then withdrawing him as a precaution against Newport and Wolverhampton Wanderers – with Martinez showing more fitness on each occasion.

Against Molineux and West Ham, Martinez showed what he can do on the ball, playing passes that changed United’s build-up game.

He is seen as the leader of the side, constantly communicating with his teammates and trying to organize.

Martinez’s sudden collapse with Koufal means The Hague will have to readjust his approach.

United is thankful that this new problem is not more serious, with some initial fears of an ACL injury. However, the club is in no rush.

(Michael Regan/Getty Images)