Athletic Bilbao midfielder Raul Garcia out with knee ligament damage

Athletic Bilbao midfielder Raul Garcia is facing an extended spell on the sidelines after suffering knee ligament damage during Saturday's defeat at Sevilla.

The Spain international -- who joined Athletic from Atletico Madrid last summer for a reported £8 million, and who has been a virtual ever-present for the Basque club -- was replaced in the first half of the 2-0 loss and subsequently underwent tests on the problem.

The results of those tests have allayed concerns Garcia might have suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage -- an injury that could have kept him out for at least six months -- but Athletic will still have to do without the 29-year-old for the foreseeable future.

An Athletic statement on Monday read: "An MRI scan has detected a grade-two tear of the medial collateral ligament of the left knee. The rest of the structure of the knee has been affected."

Athletic have not said how long Garcia might be out for but reports in Spain suggest he could be missing for between two-to-three months.