MADRID (AP) – Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas is expected to be sidelined for two to three months following an operation on his broken left hand.
After operating on Casillas on Friday, Dr. Miguel del Cerro said Casillas will be out ''for eight to 12 weeks, with anything less than 12 being a success.''
That means Casillas will miss Madrid's Copa del Rey semifinal against Barcelona and its Champions League clash with Manchester United on Feb. 13 and March 5.
He will also likely miss two World Cup qualifiers for Spain against Finland on March 22 and France three days later.
Del Cerro said two screws were inserted into Casillas' hand and that the operation ''went better than expected.''
Casillas was injured during a game at Valencia on Wednesday when teammate Alvaro Arbeloa kicked his hand while clearing a ball from Madrid's area. After being examined by team doctors on the pitch, Casillas walked off grimacing.
Following its Spanish league match with Getafe on Sunday, Madrid hosts Barcelona on Wednesday in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal. The two meet again in the second leg in the last week in February.
''Iker will be out two months, and he is a fundamental piece of Madrid and the national team,'' said Barcelona and Spain midfielder Xavi Hernandez. ''For Madrid, his absence will be very important, but they have other players and I am sure they will still compete.''
Casillas will most likely be replaced by Adan Garrido, who has shared starts recently with his more veteran counterpart in a highly criticized move by coach Jose Mourinho.