However, manager Roberto Mancini could now be forced to seek defensive reinforcements in the January transfer window if Richards’s worst fears of a four-month recovery period prove correct.
“I have a brace on it and I am using crutches,” Richards said. “I can’t do anything at all for the next four to six weeks and I am probably looking at 12-16 weeks before I am back in action.
“The positive thing is that the injury has been repaired so the knee will be as good as new.
“I suppose it could have been even worse and not repairable, which would have meant removing the meniscus; so I am being positive.”
While the anticipated return of Pablo Zabaleta from a hamstring injury for this weekend’s trip to West Ham is likely to ease City’s defensive problems, Mancini is still awaiting news of Maicon’s likely return date from a foot problem that has left him on the sidelines for a month.
Although City remain hopeful that Richards could return within the 16-week period he has forecast, the England full-back, admits he sensed immediately that his latest setback would lead to a lengthy lay-off.
“I knew straight away in the game that it was quite a bad injury,” Richards said. “The knee locked and I couldn’t straighten it.”
The City defender had already missed the first two months of the campaign with an ankle injury suffered while representing Team GB at the Olympics,
“Injuries are all part and parcel of the job but with this coming on top of the other one, I do feel a little hard done to,” he said.
“But I will be working as hard as I can to get back as quickly as I can and I thank all the fans who have sent their best wishes.”