>Wayne Rooney faces two to three weeks out

>Article By soccernet staff

Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed Wayne Rooney will be sidelined for two to three weeks as a result of the minor ankle ligament damage sustained in Tuesday’s Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich.

Wayne Rooney

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Rooney’s condition has been cause for real concern in recent days after he turned over on his right ankle in Munich and had to be helped off the pitch. He then left the Allianz Arena on crutches and with a protective boot in place.
Initial reports suggested Rooney would be out of action for between two and four weeks, although more pessimistic sources suggested a six-week lay-off was possible for the striker who has scored 34 goals in all competitions for United this season.
The club revealed on Thursday that Rooney had not suffered a break, only “minor ligament damage”, and Ferguson now expects his star performer to be absent for three weeks at the most.
Ferguson said on Friday: “(There is) no bone damage or serious ligament damage. The nation can stop praying.”
“It was panic. We are relieved. When we saw him hobble off, you are hoping when you send him for a scan, you get some good news and it could have been worse given the way he hobbled off.
“But it’s out of the way, we can put it to one side and get on with our job on the pitch.”
While he will miss Saturday’s crucial game against Chelsea and the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Bayern, Rooney could in theory be available when United face rivals Manchester City at Eastlands on April 17.
If United do overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg against Bayern then Rooney will in all likelihood be available for a semi-final tie against either Lyon or Bordeaux.
But for Saturday’s game against Chelsea, Gary Neville says the absence of Rooney cannot be used as an excuse.
“We don’t want injuries, particularly to our best players,” Neville said. “Wayne will be a miss for us because he has been in such great form. But in the past people have always stood up to the plate and contributed.
“We have had key players out for big matches before and still won them. We have gone into finals without two or three major players and come through it. Chelsea have players missing. They don’t have Michael Essien or Ashley Cole. All teams get injuries and suspensions on the run-in. You have to cope with them.”
Meanwhile, Ferguson has also confirmed that long-term injury victims Owen Hargreaves and John O’Shea have both been training well and that one of the pair could even make the bench for Saturday’s game against Chelsea at Old Trafford.
Severe knee problems have prevented Hargreaves from representing the club since September 2008, while O’Shea has not played since Republic of Ireland’s World Cup play-off defeat at the hands of France in November due to a blood clot in his leg.
“John O’Shea and Owen Hargreaves have trained very well with the first team,” said Ferguson. “They are not far away and I may use one of them as substitute tomorrow [Saturday] and the other on Wednesday.
“John O’Shea in particular has done a lot of work. The boy has come on terrifically well in the last two or three weeks. If I include one tomorrow and one on Wednesday it will give them the confidence that they are back. That is what they need.”
As Hargreaves is not eligible for the Champions League tie against Bayern Munich, Ferguson’s comments suggest the midfielder will be named on the bench against Chelsea.

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