Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas has returned home after a "successful" operation on his fractured left thumb, his club revealed Saturday, and will now begin a recovery period of between eight and 12 weeks before he can return to action.
"After a successful operation yesterday (Friday), the captain is back home resting," his club revealed on their website.
"Everything went superbly well. Now it is all a question of waiting while he recuperates," added the club's medical chief Carlos Diez.
The Spanish international - who had controversially been dropped by coach Jose Mourinho just before Christmas leading to murmurings of discontent in the dressing room - fractured the first metacarpal bone, at the base of his thumb, during Madrid's Spanish Cup clash with Valencia in midweek.
The recovery period means he will miss both legs of the Champions League last-16 tie with Manchester United and is also likely to miss Spain's trip to France in a crucial 2014 World Cup qualifier on March 26.
Madrid moved to cover for the loss of their captain on Friday when they brought Diego Lopez back to the club for a second spell from Sevilla.
The 31-year-old, who was on the books of the capital club between 2000 and 2007 but rarely featured for the first time before departing for Villarreal, has arrived on a four-and-a-half-year deal.
Spanish media reported that the transfer was worth between 3.5 and four million euros ($4.7m-5.4m).