Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that striker Wayne Rooney is expected to return to first team action in two to three weeks and has told the nation they can ‘stop praying’ as the ligament damage is not as bad as first feared.
The news will be as welcome to followers of Manchester United as it is to England manager Fabio Capello, as it means he can still play major role in United’s Premier League run-in and England’s World Cup campaign in South Africa this summer.
Rooney went over on his right ankle in the dying moments of United’s 2-1 Champions League quarter-final first leg defeat to Bayern Munich in Germany on Tuesday, sparking fears that his season could be over.
However, Rooney’s injury was confirmed as a minor ligament strain by the club yesterday and Ferguson said this morning that the England international would be back within two to three weeks.
That rules Rooney out of the second leg of the tie against Bayern and a potentially decisive Premier League match against Chelsea on Saturday.
However, he could now make his return as early as the April 17 derby against Manchester City.
“(There is) no bone damage or serious ligament damage. The nation can stop praying,” said Ferguson, referencing the state of national concern over the wellbeing of the country's leading player this close to the World Cup finals.
"It was panic. We are relieved," he added. "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."