Manchester United FC will be without leading scorer Wayne Rooney for "two to three weeks" according to manager Sir Alex Ferguson, ruling him out of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final return leg against FC Bayern München. Rooney sprained his right ankle in the dying moments of Tuesday's 2-1 first-leg defeat in Germany.
The Premier League leaders, who play second-placed Chelsea FC on Saturday, confirmed on Thursday that Rooney sustained "only minor ligament damage" after an accidental collision with Bayern's Mario Gómez in the build-up to Ivica Olić's stoppage-time winner. "We're pleased to report that Wayne has not suffered a fracture," the club's website stated.
In Friday's press conference United manager Sir Alex reiterated that there was "no bone damage or serious ligament damage" and joked with the press about Rooney's availability for the FIFA World Cup. "The nation can stop praying," he said. "It was panic," he added. "We are relieved. 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."
Rooney, an inspirational presence for United this term, struck his 34th goal of the campaign barely a minute into Tuesday's match in Munich. But he hurt his ankle as he fell awkwardly after colliding with Gómez, and later left the stadium on crutches with his right foot in a protective cast.
If Sir Alex's side beat Bayern, Rooney would face a race to be back for any semi-final first leg on 20/21 April, or for the return fixture a week later. United have failed to overcome Bayern in three attempts at Old Trafford and the absence of Rooney, the UEFA Champions League's second-highest scorer with five goals, will not help their prospects this time.
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