Gareth Bale is set for longer on the sidelines than initially estimated, with the Real Madrid player now understood to be facing four months out.
Ankle injury worse than originally thought
Bale, who suffered damaged ankle tendons in Real's Champions League triumph over Sporting CP early last week, underwent an operation in London on Tuesday, and is to begin his rehabilitation in the coming days.
It was believed his recovery would take two to three months, but in the course of his surgery it has emerged that the extent of the issue is greater than first thought.
Bale - who has so far been unavailable for a LaLiga win over Sporting Gijón and a Copa del Rey victory against Cultural Leonesa - is now expected to return in April.
Bale could be out of Real's next 25 fixtures
The 27-year-old former Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur man could therefore be absent for the European champions' next 25 matches.
He is ruled out of Saturday's league clash with arch rivals Barcelona, and is then in line to miss a further 14 rounds of the Spanish top flight.
He'll also play no part in the Club World Cup or the Champions League last 16, and will likely only feature in the Copa del Rey if Real reach the final.
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