Darren Fletcher out for season after 'planned' surgery
Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher will miss the rest of the season because of his chronic bowel condition.
The Scottish captain has undergone surgery in an effort cure the recurring problem, although his club insist the latest procedure was planned as part of his long-term recovery.
United have released a statement confirming a further lengthy absence for the 28-year-old and explained the decision was taken at the "optimal time" as a consequence of "a period of sustained good health."
"Darren Fletcher will be unavailable for the remainder of this season having undergone surgery to resolve his ulcerative colitis condition," read the statement.
"This was a planned procedure undertaken at the optimal time having achieved a period of sustained good general health, as illustrated by the fact that Darren has trained with the team regularly this season and been available for selection right up to the operation."
Fletcher, who has already missed 11 months of football because of the illness, made an emotional return as a substitute in United's 1-0 Champions League victory over Galatasaray last September.
He then returned to international football, featuring for Scotland in their 2-1 defeat by Wales in Cardiff.
Fletcher's last start for United was on December 1 in their 4-3 win at Reading. Since then he has made only two brief substitute appearances, his last on St Stephen's Day against Newcastle. (© Daily Telegraph, London)