John O'Shea was 'at risk of leg amputation'

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Manchester United's defensive problems were made worse after John O'Shea was ruled out for the season because of a blood clot in his leg.

The 28-year-old has not played since injuring his thigh playing for the Republic of Ireland in their World Cup play-off against France in November.

The injury has since become so serious that doctors believe he could have been at risk of needing an amputation if it had gone undetected

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said: "John got a terrible injury at the moment. It's one of those sorts of injuries that are unusual.

"It's like a dead leg, except a dead leg is ­usually only three or four days.

"The problem is that the blood clot became all knotted and when it gets knotted you get calcification so therefore it's a long process to clear that up and he'll probably miss the season now.

"It's a bad blow for the boy and for the team because he can play anywhere."

The Red Devils has also been without defenders Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidić, Jonny Evans, Wes Brown and Gary Neville for spells this season.

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