Manchester United midfielder Fletcher has not played since November, although he was an unused substitute in the Champions League defeat to Basle the following month.
A few days later though, it was confirmed that the Scotland skipper was taking an indefinite break from the game following confirmation he was suffering from a chronic bowel complaint.
It was widely anticipated Fletcher would not figure again this season as he gave his body every chance to recover.
However, there had been no formal statement on the matter and the sight of Fletcher attending the recent Manchester derby FA Cup tie at the Etihad Stadium, plus other positive reports on the 27-year-old's progress led to suggestions he could make a far faster recovery than had been expected.
But, ahead of Manchester United's trip to the Emirates Stadium, where Fletcher was sent off in the 2009 Champions League semi-final to deprive him of a final appearance, Ferguson has quashed that talk.
"I don't expect Fletcher to come back," said the United boss.
"Darren will be out for the season."