Manchester - Manchester United striker Michael Owen is set to be out of action until at least Christmas with a thigh injury, the Premier League champions said on Monday.
The former England forward suffered his latest fitness setback during the recent 2-0 Champions League home win against Otelul Galati.
He lasted just 10 minutes against the Romanians after straining his left thigh in the build-up to United's opening goal when Owen darted towards the near post and stretched for Phil Jones's cross.
While he failed to make contact with the ball, Owen's movement dragged defenders out of position and, according to manager Alex Ferguson after the match, "made the goal" for the onrushing Antonio Valencia.
Although Ferguson hoped the injury wasn't serious, a club spokesperson said on Monday: "Michael has a thigh muscle injury and will be out for six weeks or so."
That means Owen, who made his name at Liverpool before spells at Real Madrid and Newcastle, is unlikely to play for United until December 26 at the earliest when the Red Devils are at home to Wigan.
United are currently second in the Premier League table, five points behind leaders and cross-town rivals Manchester City.