The Swede miraculously returned to action back in November following a knee operation just seven months earlier, but only managed two starts before returning to the treatment table once again.
Mourinho initially claimed that Zlatan would be out for a month but striker, who has been linked with LA Galaxy, only returned to training less than two weeks ago.
And the 55-year-old, speaking at a press conference ahead of Man United’s visit to Crystal Palace, noted that the 36-year-old would leave Old Trafford at the end of the season.
“Zlatan, we all think it’s his last season at Manchester United, and [it] will be a very personal decision for him to play or to stop,” he said.
“I think he wants the right of choosing his life, his future, such an amazing player and amazing career that only that awful injury in the wrong moment broke a fantastic couple of seasons he could and should have with us this season really different for him.
“He’s not injured; does he feel totally happy, ready and convinced that he’s in conditions to help the team in this moment? No, but he’s such an honest guy and such a champion he only wants to be back with that feeling of I’m totally ready for it, so he’s working hard and hopefully his evolution brings him to that level he wants to have a positive answer.”
The story of Zlatan at United will be looked upon by posterity as a tale of two halves: one full of ruthless brilliance on the pitch as the veteran plundered goals and confounded critics for nine glorious months, providing the psychological bedrock that proved so crucial in the side’s successful pursuit of silverware; the other marred by frustration, pain, absence, and indeed the realities of football at the highest level for players of Zlatan’s age.
No man or woman can escape the claws of time, and the 36-year-old, following such a profound injury, clearly knows that his star is about to burn out.