Ferdinand desperate to play part in United run-in
Rio Ferdinand is desperately hoping to prove that his manager's gloomy prognosis about his worrying calf injury is wrong and aims to be back in the Manchester United side within two weeks, writes Ian Herbert.
Ferdinand's goal seems ambitious, but he is understood to feel disappointed by Alex Ferguson's public suggestion, two weeks ago, that his season is over.
He is ready to play at less than 100pc fitness to salvage something from a third successive injury-hit campaign.
The defender, who has also had the disappointment of losing the England captaincy to contend with, may find himself involved in a battle of wills with Ferguson, who knows from experienced the danger of failing to treat calf injuries with caution.
But Ferdinand (right), who flew to Germany last week to seek help from the leading specialist Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, is said to believe that United's next home league match against Fulham a week tomorrow could be achievable.
He would need to play some role in that match to give himself a chance of featuring in the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Chelsea and the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City the week after.
When Ferdinand visited Muller-Wohlfahrt, the club doctor at Bayern Munich, he is understood to have received an injection in his back to try to solve the calf problem he suffered in United's league match against Aston Villa on February 1.
Ferguson has been worried about the failure of the calf to respond to treatment.
"Sometimes (calf) injuries can be troublesome," he said last month. "We are not looking short term. He's hardly training yet and it looks to me like we'll be lucky to get him back fit for some part of the season."
Fabio Capello suggested last Friday that he based his decision to reinstate John Terry as England captain on that testimony, and Ferdinand feels it was unduly negative.
Meanwhile, United have taken Brazilian teenager Rafael Leao on loan until the summer.
The 17-year-old has arrived on a short-term deal from United's Brazilian feeder club Desportivo Brasil. The defensive midfielder will train at United's academy and will remain with them until the end of June, when United will decide whether to sign him on a permanent basis. (© Independent News Service)