One of the noticeable omissions from Manchester United's starting XI and bench versus Newcastle United was playmaker Wayne Rooney. Prior to the match, there was some speculation that the England international had sustained a knock in training yesterday and after today's match versus the Magpies, manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed that:
"Wayne did it towards the end of training yesterday. He was trying a volley when he strained a ligament behind the knee. It's unfortunate, and he could be out for two to three weeks."
- Ferguson | Source: MUTV
That's obviously not good news. I'm not sure what to make of the 'two to three' weeks either. The mentioning of ligament and knee is worrisome and if more tests are still to be done, then the manager likely spewed out 'two to three weeks' with no certainty to that time frame. Or perhaps the diagnosis has already been done and the knock isn't too serious. One can never tell with the limited and often vague information the gaffer offers in regards to the injuries to his squad. The next (possible) update is likely to come on Friday during Ferguson's weekly press conference.
The Red Devils are currently involved in the congested fixture list of the festive season and thus, Rooney's injury is also a blow to the squad depth. Shinji Kagawa is thought to be nearing a return* and if that occurs soon, then that'll lessen the blow of losing United's No.10. The injury should also create more opportunities for the likes of Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) and Danny Welbeck to get more playing time as the latter and Robin van Persie are both capable of playing in behind a lead striker. Welbeck, though, is thought to have missed the Newcastle tie due to illness. Furthermore, Ashley Young is speculated to have sustained a knock yesterday in training as well and that's the apparent reason he wasn't in today's 18. The seriousness of these health issues to Welbeck and Young are currently unknown.
* Apparently, Kagawa and Rooney cannot be healthy at the same time.