By NBF News

Manchester United's Antonio Valencia is likely to be out for the rest of the season after suffering a serious ankle injury in the 0-0 draw with Rangers on Tuesday.

Manager Alex Ferguson has described the injury as a big blow to the club.

The winger was carried off after going down under an innocuous-looking tackle from Kirk Broadfoot in the 62nd minute of the Champions League match.

Valencia, 25, was taken to hospital and was expected to undergo surgery on Wednesday.

'It looks like a dislocation and a fracture. We are talking the rest of the season,' boss Sir Alex Ferguson, said

Ferguson compared the severity of the injury to that suffered by former United player Alan Smith, who broke his left leg and dislocated his ankle in an FA Cup tie against Liverpool in February 2006.

Smith was out for seven months, which if repeated with Valencia, would keep the winger out until April.

Ferguson had much sympathy for Valencia and added, 'It is a bad blow for the boy. It is similar to the injury Alan Smith got.

'He seemed to dig his toe into the turf and as soon as we saw the Rangers player waving we knew it was a bad one – and it's turned into a bad one.'

Broadfoot, who immediately signalled that Valencia needed treatment, spoke after the match of his horror at witnessing the injury.

'I'm not too sure what happened,' he stated. 'I just slid in and looked round and his bone was sticking out. We tried to get the physio on to help him because you don't like to see that.

'These things happen and hopefully he makes a fast recovery. I've never seen anything like that so close before.

'You see things like that on television and it's not good but to see it there in front of you, it doesn't look nice and I just hope he recovers quickly.'

Manchester United team-mate Darren Fletcher expressed sympathy for Valencia and predicted the Ecuador player will have a big future at Old Trafford.

'He had a great first season and was looking to push on this year,' said Fletcher.

'That is why the injury is a real blow.
'He has only just got back from the injury he suffered at the end of last season too.'

'He is a strong character and a good lad. He has real determination and works hard. He will be back I am sure. He will have a long future at Manchester United.'