Celtic FC striker Shaun Maloney will be out of action for nine months after rupturing his anterior cruciate knee ligament.
Maloney picked up the injury during an Under-21 match against Partick Thistle FC on Monday and originally Celtic manager Martin O'Neill hoped that the knock would only keep the player sidelined for a few weeks. However, scans have confirmed the severity of the injury and the 21-year-old will have surgery in two weeks once the swelling has subsided.
The news comes a blow to the player who earlier this month had agreed to sign a new contract with the club until June 2007. Celtic insist that although the injury came before he put pen to paper, the contract terms will not be affected.
Maloney had hoped to use the rest of this season to convince the club that he was the ideal man to replace Henrik Larsson in the Celtic side, as the Swedish forward is leaving Celtic Park in the summer for a fresh challenge. The Scottish U21 international now faces a fight to play again this year as club doctors estimate his rehabilitation process will last nine months.
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