Rooney back in three weeks
Ferguson confirms striker suffered ankle ligament damage
Last Updated: April 2, 2010 1:55pm
Sir Alex Ferguson has stated Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney will be out of action for between two and three weeks.
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"Obviously in the two to three weeks he'll miss important games, but the important thing for us is that he'll be back before the end of the season."
Sir Alex Ferguson. Quotes of the week
The England international went down in a heap late on in the Red Devils' 2-1 UEFA Champions League quarter-final defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday clutching his right ankle.
It had been feared that 24-year-old could be doubtful for this summer's World Cup, although United later confirmed he suffered only minor ligament damage.
Ferguson followed up that bulletin by putting a timescale on Rooney's return and revealed the striker should be back in action within three weeks.
Rooney underwent scans on Thursday and the vastly-experienced Scottish tactician insists the nation can breathe a sigh of relief that he will be fit for the World Cup in South Africa.
"The nation can breathe again. We're relieved," explained Ferguson. "It could have been worse."
While Ferguson is down that Rooney will miss some big games in the coming weeks he is delighted he will be back in action before the end of what is sure to be a fantastic conclusion to the campaign.
When asked how long Rooney is likely to be out of action, Ferguson told Sky Sports News: "Two to three weeks, we think.
"Obviously in the two to three weeks he'll miss important games, but the important thing for us is that he'll be back before the end of the season.
"It's the same for any player, you're always hoping when they go for scans or X-rays that the results and the news you're getting is good.
"There's no bone damage and there's no serious ligament damage. Everyone wants their best players available."
Rooney, who has scored 34 goals for the league leaders this season, will miss their top-of-the-table clash with Chelsea this weekend and will not feature in the second leg against Bayern next Wednesday.
He is also likely to sit out their Premier League away match at Blackburn, although with a speedy recovery he could be in contention for the huge Manchester derby against City at Eastlands on 17th April.
With Rooney on the sidelines Ferguson expects Dimitar Berbatov to thrive in the limelight, while he is also delighted to have Italian starlet Federico Macheda available for selection.
Berbatov has been forced to play second-fiddle to Rooney this term, but he will be leading the line in the coming weeks, while injury has restricted Macheda's appearances of late but he will take his place on the bench against Chelsea.
"He's a terrific talent," Ferguson said of Macheda. "We're delighted he's back now. He's been in full training with the first team for a month.
"He's been sub in the last game against Bolton and he'll be a sub on Saturday and on Wednesday. He certainly can play a big part.
"Berbatov's form has come great at the right time. It was always hard to leave a player of his ability out in important games.
"We went with the tried and trusted one striker and three centre midfield players on Tuesday night.
"Next week we'll have Berbatov in the team. I'm sure he can thrive on that. He's experienced enough to handle that."
Meanwhile, Ferguson is not expected to make wholesale changes to his side for the top-of-the-table clash with Chelsea despite Rooney's absence.
The Scot, who has Owen Hargreaves available if needed, believes the only advantage the Blues will have on Saturday is the freshness of not having a midweek match having already been eliminated from the UEFA Champions League.
"It's a good week (for Chelsea) in the sense that they know that Wayne has picked up an injury and that they haven't played themselves," he concluded.
"At the end of the day I'll only need to make one change if I want to do that. I may make two or three changes depending on how I see this game.
"The only advantage that Chelsea have got is that they've got a rest.
"We'll look at the game against Chelsea as a different entity altogether and hopefully we'll pick the right team."