Ferdinand's new injury blow as Anderson told season is over
RIO FERDINAND faces another fortnight on the 'easy list' after suffering a recurrence of a longstanding back injury in training.
As well as missing England's friendly against Egypt next Wednesday, Ferdinand will have to sit out the Carling Cup final against Aston Villa at Wembley on Sunday and Manchester United's Premier League game away to Wolves six days later.
He will also, most probably, miss the return leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie against AC Milan at Old Trafford on Wednesday week.
Given Ferdinand's slow recovery from previous back problems, however, his availability for the league matches at home to Fulham and Liverpool, on March 14 and March 21 respectively, cannot be guaranteed either.
United manager Alex Ferguson, though, does not believe that Ferdinand has reached the point at which he will have to limit his appearances for England.
"I don't think we are at the stage where he should be concentrating on one part of his life in terms of international and domestic football," Ferguson said.
"That has never been an issue. I have never discussed it with him and he's certainly not discussed it.
"I don't think he has ever thought about that himself and there's no reason for him to think about that at the moment."
Ferdinand (31) has made a mere three appearances in four months and has featured in only 34 of the past 92 games for club and country.
But Ferguson is hopeful that the current problem is not as grave as the one which ruled him out for 13 weeks between last October and January of this year.
"It is a blow for us because I was looking forward to having Ferdinand and (Nemanja) Vidic back on Tuesday (against West Ham United)," Ferguson said.
"You never know with back injuries. We have been through this before, but we don't think it is too serious.
"We think he could be back in two weeks. I don't think he will be fit for the AC Milan game, but I don't think it will be long afterwards."
Ferguson's injury problems do not end there. Although he expects Ryan Giggs to return to training next week once a plate has been removed from the Welshman's fractured right arm, another midfield player, Anderson, will be out for a minimum of six months after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury in the 3-0 win over West Ham.
The Brazilian, who was making his first appearance for five weeks after being frozen out by Ferguson, will have surgery in Portugal in a fortnight once the swelling has subsided.
The injury effectively rules out any plans United may have had of selling Anderson in the summer.
Poor form and attitude issues have caused him to fall foul of Ferguson this season, but his absence leaves the Scot short of options in midfield for the game against Milan, with Michael Carrick suspended and Giggs a doubt.
"He will be out for the rest of the season, but hopefully six months should have him about right for the new season," Ferguson said. "It is a bad blow." (© The Times, London)