Rio Ferdinand will open up the 2012 Premier League campaign on the training table after suffering an apparent groin injury in training Friday.
Ferdinand, who could face up to a month away from the pitch, joins fellow injured central defenders Phil Jones, Chris Evans, and Jonny Evans in what has become a nightmare scenario for Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United as they look to regain the title from Manchester City after losing out on goal differential last season.
With Ferdinand out, Michael Carrick is likely to join Nemanja Vidic, who is newly healthy himself, at the back, moving from his customary midfield role in the center of the pitch. It's quite possible that Carrick's spell as a centre back will last for quite sometime considering Evans is still in the throws of recovering from ankle surgery, Jones will miss a month with a back injury, and Smalling not expected to return until mid-October after undergoing surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot.
Hmm, perhaps this will allow Sir Alex to get a bit creative and use our wealth of talent in midfield and upfront to concoct a bit of total football magic. Maybe even a back three with Carrick sweeping and Kagawa, Cleverley, Anderson, and Scholes forming an explosive midfield attack, ooh tasty. Or maybe we'll all be forced to hold our collective breathes as we watch a patchwork back four hold on through these first couple of matches. Yeah, it's probably the last one.